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.