Monday, December 21, 2020

iduna remembered


They tried shutting her away:
their strange blue-eyed girl
who brought ice to life,
but they’d read enough fairy tales
to know stone towers don’t hold.

Agnarr erred 
on the side of concealment.
He had a kingdom to consider,
not to mention 
their younger daughter,
not his heir, but always 
his favorite.

Iduna remembered
the forest of her birth,
how the leaves turned
plum and rust each fall
and the reindeer’s coats 
grew thick and musky. 
She knew the weight
of carrying another world
curled inside your cloak.

Their strange girl belonged
to neither fjord nor forest,
and it frightened them. 
How to prepare her
to use her own power
when Iduna herself
scarcely understood it?
How to prepare her 
for the ways fear could curdle
into cruelty?

It was dangerous to sail
in winter, Agnarr argued.
It’s dangerous not to,
Iduna said. She had a map,
a song, a memory
of nursing a young man
from another land 
back to health. 
If it was so wrong 
to choose the unfamiliar
over the soft moss
and dense furs 
lining her father’s house,
would the gods have rewarded
her daughter
with magic?

Uncertainty churned in Iduna 
like the waves of the Dark Sea.
Their destination remained
a riddle, but her resolve
ran deep as a glacier; 
even when the wind picked up,
she knew what she’d known
since her first daughter’s first breath:
there was no turning back.

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