Dedicated to Em

Hard rain lashes at the window like a vile whip

tangled in the unforgiving

hand of a slave master from days gone by.

Yet, he does not know his

command to torture is past.

The windowpanes streak with clear

cold liquid;

I see only blood rivers

coursing down the naked backs of

the damned.

Thunder peals boom

so loudly that the ground itself shudders,

quakes through me like fear in

the knees of cowering slaves buckling

to each report of merciless pride

only to tremble anew with each raising of

stinging leather poised to sculpt with

its white-hot lightning sear,

seeking flesh to shred;

the pursuit of the human heart.

Chill winds, reminiscent of

wailing women’s screams

and children crying,

witness to the whip’s rise and fall,


past barren tree limbs.

I track its path,

feel the sting of ancient leather

enrobing itself around my own back.

The shrieks of

death and dying carry upon curving air

even hundreds of years

removed unto today.

I reach to touch the

inside of the pane,

unearthly coolness when it should be

scorching hot with the blood

of the innocents.

I am not inside the pain,

merely sheltered

from the past by particles of glass

tempered in the fiery hotness

of death itself.

And my own blood


cold fused to hot.


nmhill © 13 december 2001

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