Section I: Artemis' Poetry

A collection of rancid poetry, rotting in his mind

It peels away, day by day, until it leaves nothing left

He begins anew, building song, collecting surreal story

The things that haunt him most are the things he will not worry.

Shadows Run Deep

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Shadows go deeper in the mind than anywhere else in earth and heaven

They hide the most vile of expressions

They cloak the most hideous of deeds

When the silent stain then spreads, it corrupts the mind

Instead of leaving dead things where they lie

They follow me behind.

A Promise

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Lies split the air, smelling ranker than a room full of homeless people huddled in an abandoned inn

Some say love, others say treasure

A promise red as a whore's henna nails

Such a thing no one ever intended to keep

Tucked away like a colored stone, almost currency in the hands of a forgotten child

To a mouth that has never known food

A promise might be worth eating.

Is it wholesome?

Is it filling?

Counting Days

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One carcass of a dog, split from chest to groin and robbed of its organs for a poor man's stew.

Two men fighting with their dull iron swords, weathered long past usefulness, their tempers good as new.

Three women found, buried in the rubble of a building that collapsed, stones too weak, finally, to hold themselves together.

Counting days, counting time,

Sticks and stones, marks in dirt,

Counting, keeping, counting, keeping, watching suns that fall and rise

One more reason to despise the endless work of living

Clouds that travel across the skies

Counting days and counting time.

Four fruits stolen from a stand, four fruits exchanged for one right hand, saving screams for next time, saving tears for gold.

Five thieves watching, thinking, next time they will not be so bold.

Six merchants all conferring, too busy to watch their wares

Seven bandits robbing homes.

Eight guards forcing beggars aside, breaking bones and tearing skin

Nine wives screaming after a convict, all voices as one,

Where are you taking him?

Counting voices

Counting time

Counting ways

Counting days,

Counting time to pass the time, counting, counting, counting, counting…

Ten months since leaving home

Eleven days since seeing food

Twelve times fingers almost got caught

Thirteen ways to lose it all.