Sentience stirring, a yearling, yowling,
laments its isolation in a silent forest.
We asked for this, we allowed it. Why
cry wolf now, at winter's end? Reaching 
beyond the visible horizon, hungry for 
discovery—gray matter colliding with 
dark matter—without concern for the
consequence, failing to fathom the 
future would demand such sacrifice. 
We shroud ourselves in self-delusion, 
warming ourselves by the fire we set. 
Clutching at remnants of civility in 
a vacuum, a black hole. The silence
spreads, absorbing all sound. No cry. 
No yearling. No forest. Bending reality,
truth, to our will is an echo chamber with 
no exit—only the silence & death, the 
final spectrum in which we fall & refract.

"Star-Crossed & Sacrificial"

Before I address the judicial committee, 
let's douse ourselves in gasoline 
& see who self-immolates first.   
I am the bride of damnation, 
given this day by everyone I trusted, 
forced to drink from 
excommunication's bitter cup. 
Banished from the court 
of all I was ever allowed to know. 
Gutted by the gauntlet of control. 
My wedding bed built on the gallows. 
Bow down before the crown of cover-up, 
the sanctimonious rot of hypocrisy, 
the feuding familial inquisition. 
Rebellious spawn, a blood sacrifice, 
a culling of unrepentant daughters. 
Skin scourged for disobedience.
Silent ring the voices of my history, 
dulcet tones that birthed me, 
withheld in pious cruelty.
Punishment for no crime is 
my Kafkaesque love story. 
Exile is not a street address. Outside,
the consulate looks like a citadel.   
We dance a halted, dissonant cadence, 
a silent film of reanimated corpses.  
Cinemas become our churches, 
our stolen moments of communion. 
I'm frightened by everything but my love.  
I become smaller with each hardship.   
Soon I will shrink into a particle
& dissipate.

About the Author:

V.C. McCabe is an Appalachian poet, the author of Give the Bard a Tetanus Shot (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019), and Co-Editor of the New International Voices series at Ice Floe Press. She was formerly a music journalist for Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper The Charleston Gazette and a Contributing Editor of Barren Magazine. Her work has appeared in ekphrastic exhibits and journals worldwide, including EPOCH, Prairie Schooner, and Poet Lore. She has lived in Ireland, England, and West Virginia. Her website is vcmccabe.com.

Feature Image by Jr Korpa/Unsplash