This version of The Frayed Map is published in SmoKe and SaLt : A Journal of Lyrical Art, No. 4 Summer 2009 submitted in response to Editor Vivian Carter’s call for works on the theme, Imaging Your Sacred Identity.

The spring of 2009 had been especially wet and cold meaning more time spent indoors at my island cottage reading, writing and reflecting on where I was in my life and more importantly, how I had arrived.  This is one in a series of the poems that came from that time, those reflections.

The Frayed Map

In quiet air beside vibrant waters
I feign content, ennui my centre.
Culpable in becoming who I am,
the façade fails sinking in upon itself.

A reluctant recluse, joyless in seclusion
no other voice in this wasteland,
unrelenting, I tell me who I should be.
Stalled imaginings crumble to dust.

Weary in seeking what is bona fide
the journey hampered by obligation and tolls,
I am a tedium of competing directions.
The frayed map clutched too tightly.

Trapped in the disarray of my own design
abandoned schemes conspire and moan,
disparate as glass beads in a mirrored dish.
Chaos hovers at the surface of artificial calm.

A dim shadow thing hunched in a floundering boat
pitching wildly as mad waters roil and foment,
the anchor holds fast, and I fall behind.
Indolence my shroud, dark thoughts drift.

Sighing, an ancient tongue, the dream returns:
I crouch on a barren point of land jutting into remote waters.
A solitary place with no horizon, no affect.
I linger in this spirit place, waiting.
A flameless fire sends a thin grey ribbon
pleading to an enduring sky.
The eagle soars in graceful arcs
watching from high above.
A shrill voice, it calls one long, high note.
As I raise my arms to embrace its sentient song,
despair slips gently from my shoulders.

Published in the SmoKe and SaLt : A Journal of Lyrical Art, No. 4 
(Neuk Press, Summer 2009)
Copyright © 2011 Cheryl Andrews