I walk the stone steps alone. The pillars attend me,
the stars my veil,
the blackened night sky domes the ancient stone cathedral.
He waits for me there, I feel his presence upon the dais of the altar.
The dress I made myself, feels as if it will lift from my body.
He said, make the dress white with gold cuffs and hem a jewel of red at the neck.
I stand upon the old cathedral patio,
stones tumbled down ages ago
but no matter,
the opening is vast and the stone pews though all askew still leaves a path.
I feel him before me.
The debris of leaves and growing weeds between the flagstones,
the moon shines my direction pointing to the alter
a single candle there and the presence of another.
I pause and spread my hands against my midriff
feeling myself breathe; ragged, frightened, unready.
I step across the threshold and hear the murmur of a crowd long dead
a hushed whisper of those who see me and wonder at the centuries it takes to fulfill a promise.
A step further in and the stars seem to lower and the darkness heightens outside upon freedom.
The silver light fills the windows with the night’s own silver and opaque mullioned windows.
The ruin illuminates the long ago history and my escape and recapture.
One step up to the alter,
I lift the hem of my dress, heavy now in my weakened hands
I place my foot on the altar step,
his hand, his hand alone, from the darkness, appears.
My throat constricts.
to take the hand from the darkness just emerged; fills me with dread.
The audience long dead and long waiting pauses in a useless breath,
they wait for me to reach my hand to him.
My skin upon his gray pallor.
His dark visage emerges from the gloom,
a smile triumphant and the light from the one candle fills the cathedral room.
And I am there his triumph, my life.
And gone from the world of freedom.