The Labyrinth

I confess that I am guilty,
I destroyed the sanctity
of what might have been—
once—
a blanket of undisturbed snow
lay upon an open world
without walls or tempest;
without fear of burglary
that might steal some piece
of his soul.

All the same, this trial
is no less
than remedial.
The judge is absent,
my lawyer vanished, and a biased jury of my peers.
I have fallen victim to appraising stares
that otherwise might care.

Yes, I did step foot
into untrodden land.
I trespassed upon a volatile world
but I was not the first to try.
There were footsteps
too long before mine.

And they were harmful,
cleated and sharp.
They bore holes into the stone.
And seared burns into
the gravel they left,
sizzling like the sun.
They still smoldered long
after those villains had gone.

So tell me jury,
will you prosecute me
for following the footsteps
of those still gone unpunished?

And there were walls in this world,
this maze.
A labyrinth, if you will.
A thousand walls, ten-thousand more,
too many to burn through.
And some had tried,
there were prints of hands
scorched in each partition,
and etches and cracks and fissures
but the walls would not submit
into submission.

And I, in selfish curiosity,
took round in every wall,
finally found an entrance
on the farthest corner,
up the longest stair,
hidden by the brambles,
that no one even knew was there.
I cut myself upon the thorns,
but managed to heave the door,
and I disappeared into the labyrinth
with more determination than before.

There were poison barbs on every corner,
and it was not long until I grew weak.
I felt myself falling,
echoing a “hello?”
as I fell crashing to my knees.
But no one offered an answer,
not even a single sound.
And before my eyes had even closed,
I fell asleep on the unforgiving ground.

And when I woke,
I had not been cast,
I remained exactly where I was.
Does that not give you pause,
jury?
Or reason for my cause?

I was still there
by someone’s choice.
And alive,
without ailment.

And as I stood to walk again,
the poison barbs were gone.
Monsters of lesser class or will
fought in every dead end.
And I took a scar, or two, or three
from each,
and felt the pain that I meant to feel.
This labyrinth, by choice
or by force
would not mean to keep me here.

And demons of paths untaken
caught my arm with gilded claws.
And angels fled to darkness above
to forsake what I meant
to call my love,
that they would not save me,
they made it clear,
I was trapped with these demons.
Trapped.

And you, jury, would see it fit
to condemn me for this?

Because I fought them off
though I was not asked.
I killed the demons
of untaken paths.
I stole the charms
that the angels left
that I would present them as gifts
to him.
Should I ever find him in this maze.

And after the demons had turned to ash,
I lost myself again.
Every corner, every wall
every corridor,
every pitch-black fall,
I believed whole-heartedly that I would never
see again
that shimmering light
in the eyes of my friend.
But I searched all the same.

And the walls began
closing in on me.
No corridors were safe.
I ran, with feet that I could not believe
would take me as far
as fast as they did.

And I searched, and I pleaded,
and I ran, and I fell.
And I watched the walls closing in.

But surely, jury, you must know the end.
Correct?
I could not die, for I am here.
So what should you care
to say to me? That I am wrong?
That I should not have been
in that maze to save my friend?

And yet all the same, upon the floor,
a sound went crashing of an opened door.
And a man ran to me, caught me in his arms,
and stole me to the center,
where the walls were closing,
the angels weren’t escaping,
the demons weren’t attacking,
the monsters weren’t fighting,
the poison barbs were absent,
and there was no entrance,
and there was no exit.
And he kept me for awhile.

And he told me that he loved me.
Still.
That he would not love so much
had I not come here.

And you could condemn a woman, jury,
who meant only
to fight for the man she loves?