From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Paladin

Shrive me, beloved,
for I have exhausted
the bellows of
this particular life.
Submerge me
under the witness
of all the murmuring saints.
Once, I emerged unscathed
from a dark river of
drowned enemies, stepped
onto the banks grinning,
dripping in glory;
once, I scythed men in
holy fire without question
or regret.
It was enough to have
a sliver of God inside me—
now I bend under
His gimlet eye, now I
dare not straighten knowing
that what I took for permission
was merely silence.
Once, I raised a gibbet cage
and did not gibber.
Brother,
we are all piteous
until we are not.

Lisabelle Tay

Lisabelle Tay is the author of Pilgrim (The Emma Press, 2021). Her poetry and short fiction appear in Augur Magazine, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere; her story ‘Surat Dari Hantu’ won the 2020 Dream Foundry short story contest. She lives in Singapore.