“‘And then I saw the lamb of God’ and Other Revelations” (Part 4/5 “Pale”) by Anna Keeler


When I’ve walked across the stage to the other end of the earth, I like to believe those who once walked behind me, who let me fight their battles then sat back as I salvaged their successes will tell others their stories of me.

I hope they will know how I suffered, how I pulled myself apart cell by cell and tried to fit myself into a mandala until I had the strength to become a monument. They will recount the fear in my cold, calculated and distant eyes while I thought nothing of Hades trying to claw a weakness in my heels. But most of all, they’ll remember the softness of my crest, how this brutish empress held now petalless flowers against the stomach that once housed them, taking her vengeance for her own hunger out on the earth until she created the apocalypse they feared. And when they get to the end, I’ll cut the last of the ties into my suspension of disbelief.

How? It’s easy to dislodge bold lies.

How can I believe in a holy apocalypse when the four horsemen have always lived inside my veins? I cannot bring myself to view a world that will someday end when, from the start, I’ve been told its beginnings were a myth. A bow and arrow whispered the doubts into my wrists the days my only source of food was a mash from the leftover graves of beat poets. I warned them all of the end of days when I was hidden in the crevices of bookshelves, exiled from the land of the abject because I believed I deserved much better.

I fed myself coins and leaf chips on polystyrene cutlery while I watched others eat sushi wrapped in money rolls. I watched as opal crowns were crafted into diamonds and placed on the most undeserving heads. I told them all that the end was nigh and they chose to only view me in despondance.

They interpreted my words as they saw fit: entertaining, full of lyricism, but not an ounce of truth, and then they have the nerve to shake in fear of my conquests.

They don’t understand.

It was never about them.

I just needed a spot big enough for my grave.

My grave–which was dug around the estates of others. I was given many hands in digging. I was able to take myself and my world storm by storm while being taken by whoever pleased over the edges of tables until my tummy was nothing but truculent cream, failure, and splinters.

Because I didn’t want to kill, I never even wanted to fight, but I needed to find the omega to this suffering.

(450 words)

Justin’s Note: This is one day late, I know, but as an apology I’ll be posting the last installment of Anna Keeler’s set in a couple hours.


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