Dark Am I, Yet Lovely.
When she walked from the darkness slowly, she was young and lithe and searching, her curious eyes lit with ten thousand fires.
She danced to an undulating flame, voice keening in the joy of existing. When she walked down from the mountains, dragging her sword behind her like a silken train, skimming the ground like a spring bubbling over slate, she was innocent and pale and moonlit. She belonged to no one save herself.
She had no need for saving, the world poised like a drop of wine on the tip of her tongue. She waded in the water, the earthy power wetting the fabric to her hips. She danced to an undulating flame.
When she caught his eyes, she found power. He stood transfixed in the the circle of her fire, and she danced for no one but herself and her newfound power. When she caught his eyes, he saw no one else, and there reflected in his eyes she saw her wild smile shining back. She danced to an undulating flame.
The voices surrounding, the voices carousing. And they screamed her body was for his pleasure. And they screamed she was for his taking. And they screamed her power was dangerous and vile. Her temptation was from darkness, but she must become light like he was in the light.
So she began to scrape the darkness from her skin. She stamped out the fire with her own feet, until she was burnt up, until she was covered in scars. Until she needed him to hold her up. For in her weakness, he would be strong. For only in her weakness could he be glorified. And she began to scrape the darkness from her skin.
And she began to carve his name into her arms, into her legs, into her hips which only moved when he commanded. She bleached the darkness from her skin. Pale like bones, and her skin clung to the bones beneath it, and her darkness shrank away.
When she walked from the light quickly, running to the arms of her only protection, when she needed saving so desperately, he accused her of having no darkness. Where was the fire reflecting in her eyes? Where was the curve of her hip, the tilt of her head? And he cursed the carvings of his name as bondage.
And he accused her of wasting his strength away, needing his arms to stand. And he accused her of needing his arms not enough… had he not seen her dancing in a shadow? How was it that she wanted darkness more than him? What if others saw her standing in the shadows? He would be marred — he would no longer be glorified.
Her skin pale like bones, and like dead whitewashed bones, she collapsed into her place, her face grave.
When the darkness slipped in slowly, kissing the soles of her feet, creeping up her pale thighs, she screamed in terror, her echoing eyes grey with ten thousand piles of ashes. She crouched in tepid darkness stained with light.
Rattling, no sharpness, all scabbard. Twisting ropes ’round her arms and legs and thighs. Trembling at her own reflection.
And her voice was surrounding, and her voice was resounding. And she screamed that her limbs were weapons, and she screamed that her eyes were missiles. She — breaker of men; she — harlot of Babylon. And when the darkness pulled her to dance, she retched in terror.
When the darkness traced her neck, drew her up and poured her out like water over desert sands, her feet found they could stand without aching. With her eyes she lit a fire beneath a waxing moon. Undulating, her voice, the sway of her arms keening with a screaming wind. Lifting her sword to the maiden moon, sinewy and seduction.
She waded in the water. Drinking the world like wine. She danced to an undulating fire, dancing for no one save herself. For she was in no need of saving.
When she became the darkness, her limbs became weapons of grace. When she became darkness, alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. When she became darkness, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. When she became discernment, dividing up the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
When I became darkness, I went out to meet him, lady of the evening with beguiling intent. I am unruly and defiant, my feet refusing to stay at home; now in the street and in the city squares, at every corner I dance. I took hold of him and kissed him, oh how deeply I kissed him, I drank him in like wine — and with brazen face glistening, I said:
This day I have given offerings to Astarte, Inanna and Lilith, and I have grapes and wine and dark company at home. I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you!
I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. Come, let us drink deeply of love until morning; let us make ourselves drunk with love! I am a woman unowned; I have sent light off on a long journey. I took his purse filled with money and built my own home under the full moon.
Dark am I, yet lovely… dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon.
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is more delightful than wine.
With persuasive fingers, and lips and swaying hips, I led him astray. I seduced him with the smoothness of wine dripping from my tongue, and we drank deeply of the darkness together.
I dance to an undulating flame, voice keening in the joy of existing. Walking down from the mountains, dragging my sword behind me like a silken train, skimming the ground like a spring bubbling over slate — I am infinite, pale with darkness and moonlit. I belong to no one save myself.
I have no need for saving, the world poised like a drop of wine on the tip of my tongue. I’m wading into the water, the earthy power drenching the fabric to my hips. Dancing to an undulating flame.
A self-proclaimed recluse, Shandi would rather wander forest halls alone than dance under bright lights. Enamored with the idea that all healing comes from self-knowledge, she explores herself, constantly memorizing the constellations in her own soul to find her way among the stars above her. A writer since the age of nine, Shandi is often found curled up in bed typing by the light of a small white screen. She is obsessed with tasting every matcha latte on this earth before she dies, and being barefoot as often as inappropriately possible. Her sentences are always too long.