Having herded a huddle of ghosts
to the hidden shore, the Shuck unwinds.
She pads in circles, smoothing rushes
and matting grasses to make a nest
... and settles down, a slumber of shadows
above the knaps of abandoned flints
- elfshot arrowheads, adze and scraper.
She gnaws at her claws; nibble and preen.
A spur of frost stabs at her memory:
a chill-full fox with a filligree pelt,
his tail a bloom of tinkling icicles
to stake a wraith to the solid earth.
Frets of spittle spiral from incisors
as she hikes her snout to the star-clad heavens
to snuffle at swirls in the silent night
- her purpose is primeval: protect the dead.
A yelp, a sneeze; a scream. Yammers
hammer across the curve of the hill.
She spots a limb slapping at mist:
the motion sparks her to spring and charge.
She levers her legs, each lunge bringing her
closer to the threat, clattering rocks
and gouts of chalk as she gathers speed,
powering to pounce at the perilous couple.
Ahead is the fox, ephemeral spawn,
its ices cloaking a creature in pain:
a woman snared in a witter of spirits
hurtfully summoned by the seething mists.
And now she sprints, a spine of black
retributions bounding towards
the tattering fogs: she tenses and leaps ...
nullam rem e nihilo gigni divinitus umquam."
... and her being unbinds - a bludgeon of words
streams through her ears to echo her skull ...
quod multa in terris fieri caeloque tuentur,
quorum operum causas nulla ratione videre
possunt ac fieri divino numine rentur."
... she howls! She keens like a hoard of suns
spun to the ledge of the starless abyss
and ripped of their fires. She renders the cliff
beneath her feet to fragments as she scrabbles
to escape the chains of the chanted lines ...
de nihilo, tum quod sequimur iam rectius inde
perspiciemus, et unde queat res quaeque creari
et quo quaeque modo fiant opera sine divom."
... she cannot fight! Her final bay
echoes against the girth of the moon
as she buckles, breaks and dissolves.