"Feast of the Epiphany"
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About the author: Alicia Young is a poet, pacifist, mortician, actress, musician, medicine woman, mother, and reveler who hails from Kentucky bourbon country, but is currently surviving in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has been featured in, as well as contributed to American Funeral Director and American Cemetery Magazines, and is currently assembling a book of poetry.
This morning I arrived back upon my nearly abandoned shore. The grateful house seemed to smile as I high heeled up the stone path. My skeleton keys, dripping with attenuated poisons, still worked the pristine steel lock. I walked through the Roman archway, which I’ve come to understand, is a door offering me singular plenary indulgence. “Welcome home, my Queen,” breathed the house of the holy. “Hello, my mansion, I need not ask how you’ve been. I see the dust covers protected all whilst I was gone.” Five steps into the foyer, I finally drop to the floor, along with the cumbersome alligator suitcase. A moment is taken to consider the cracked, weathered thing. The only feature I still find appealing about it, are the stickers that adorn, markers of all the enchanting wonderlands to which we had been. Funny though, the handle made of iron pyrite, truly fool’s gold, glows as shiny as ever. That is the doing of the craftsman who had polished it with snake oil for a thousand years before I purchased it. That long ago day, in a far away,open air market, is my favorite re-
gret. This is wisdom. Oh yes, I have learned from my travels, and I am far from road weary.
I lose the shoes, just to feel my bare feet, upon my own warm wooden floors. There is no museum map or docent needed. My cellular memory knows exactly where I am. The thought comes upon me to let in the light, so I make my way first to the heart, to my beloved stainless kitchen. This sink gladly works. The family table still carved from the most solid wood. All the appliances smile, especially the Kitchen Aid mixer. Like a good old girlfriend, she wants details, details! I laugh, all sixteen again and say, “Dishy Bitch, you are always stirring shit up. There has been enough talk of sour, saccharin covered, gummy baked goods. Today we’re making banana nut muffins for the world.” There remains a planetarium in the pantry, full of Melitta coffee cans, some full, mostly empty, floating amongst the stars. The trusted stove waits to be set afire, so I turn on and off one of the pilots, just to make him smile. The wooden shudders are surprisingly grime free, and for this I am thankful. I’ve grown so tired of cleaning up someone else’s well shellacked dirt. As I open the widow covers with both hands, the glorious sunlight of knowledge fills more than just the room in which I’m standing. Exclamations of joy abound. “Oh, god, it is for all of this I am grateful,” shouted to the forgotten heavens. My mother comes to mind, then the song uttered, “How Great Thou Art.” I begin to understand Centuries of Right, sailed upon the Seven Seas of Wrong. The ornamental cherry tree beaming her pearly whites, came grinning through the window. I’m eternally pleased she survived the long war. She is beautiful and crystal clear. I linger just to watch her chest rise and fall. To my dismay, a lonesome crow landed upon her newly budded branches. One is for sorrow, as you may know. Such wicked witchcraft, and Sinatra was a great warlock, but certainly no saint. “Surely, you haven’t come for me, solitary raven, there is no bird bath of tears for you to swim and caw in here!” The not-minah bird then stood erect, puffed his chest, as if to summon his minions. A second crow landed within the sturdy, still there limbs. Two is for joy. I was already smiling when the third one landed, and I can’t help but say, “Three for a girl…” I place my hand upon my would-be bump and know she’ll be here one of these days. My third child will be made of sisterly love. When she is given her first tri-cycle, she’ll also get her first book of Latin. Her first words learned shall be libera me. The decision is made to relax. I still have a box of Red Rose Tea. That is the brand that comes with quaint little figurines inside. This one ironically has a scarecrow in it, but I leave it in the box. Crows in high numbers are welcomed visitors in this house. The time has come to nest. I slink to the Great Hall. My writing desk, the old LC Smith & Corona typewriter, ink well, and plumes are undisturbed, as are the sleeping children. This is where I will be holding court today. I take the passport out of my purse. It’s been from Egypt to Venezuela, then back to the United States. Such prolific stamping has been done. I recline back all Cleopatra, as the deposed king would say, and start to recount the perilous voluntary journey. So many miles traveled, particularly through keystone states. I laugh out loud as I remember the exhibit at the Warhol Museum was Andy mixed with Marcel Duchamp. The exhibition was called Twisted Pair. I’ll press that thought into my big book of irony. The rest of it seems oddly inconsequential, all a bourbon eyed haze. I was proud that my warship was not sucked into the mysterious Bermuda Triangle vortex of You-Did-This-To-Me. I had the good sense not to stay and wait for Augustus to parade me through the streets of the City of Seven Hills during his triumph. Most of the memories ran aground, came undone, once I found myself imprisoned in Venezuela. You see, I lost a poker game to Chavez, and found myself chained to his overused bed in a self induced haze. There were rose bearers dropping petals for me to walk across the filth, but I couldn’t live in such a dirty palace. Too many old stalking ghosts coming across on the Ouija board for my discriminating taste. I made my escape under the cover of night. I could hear Vlad the Impale-Her screaming for his Wilhelmina, as I flew deep into the South American Carpathian forest. I made my flight, praising the animal headed gods, and safely buckled myself in. My opened eyes played close attention to the topography, which I was single engine savvy soaring over. The most glaring feature of the lay of the land, was that the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers had run dry. It was they who had converged to form the Nile. I shed a tear for the fields of gold that would never grow. Egypt was once the greatest civilization, the breadbasket of the Earth. As the grain supply goes, so goes the world. Ah well, there are seeds and healthy soil in the New World. The remainder of the flight became a lucid dream. So, here I sit, back in the unblack, still wearing my talisman, a newly gleaming forever Ankh. I couldn’t be happier to be back home. Plans are being made for the Starry, Starry nights ahead, minus the Van Gogh cutting off his ear. I never much cared for that canvas or paint spilled. I am not an appreciator of extremists. The tea cup is refilled, and I stir in my royal cream, then return to the roll top sanctuary. The irrevocable is carved into unshattered stone. Triptychs of benefactors and artists are all Polaroid captured and safely cloistered. How glad I am I left my asp in customs at the wretched airport. The only chemical coursing through my cardiovascular system is pure forgiveness. This voyage has made the queen a better scribe. Papyrus, how I love you, and I write it all down, still wearing my hard earned crown.