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The Fool's Journey

Ariana Basher

The collection of short stories I got for my birthday,

A brief letter, like “a thing on the doorstep”— a lingering wraith,

I got your present on some sweltering, sunny Saturday,

One of those ‘thank you’s I actually meant in good faith.


Others fall in the abyss of the castles of tears I attempted to build,

Along with the sorries I rarely offered appropriately, instead victims of my abuse,

I don’t suppose there were heroes in that book, only eldritch things that could’ve been killed

Still you would’ve desired that I read a good book, but my crucifixion’s already yours to peruse.


Abject apologies, gratuitous gratitude— each word weathering my dignity,

Yes, you never requested this, but I offer a bridge made of my self-respect nonetheless,

Any attempt at valiance drives me to become irredeemable, all in the name of tenacity

Thus, my heroism could only be derived from my self-inflicted abasement and distress


Doors I hold open without thanks, pre-emptive apologies, compensatory compliments

This obsequious respect, this martyrdom, this crucifixion— am I not heroic?

Where is my oleaginous eulogy? My name remembered, where? My absence, who laments?

Well, this is the epiphany, written not in the fairytale books, but in the memory mosaic:


Every hero has a jester, a fool— I’m everybody’s fool, yet one would think I was a fool for you 

It's more worthwhile to turn me into a jest— never humorous, but always the subject of laughter

Then you realize how irredeemable I truly am; then I’d become an obsolete plot device to rue

That realization led me to my melancholic bouts, that I’d never be capable.


I acted more like a damsel-in-distress than a hero, but the slipper still didn’t fit

Conscience keeps me from dissolving my pride to yield an ostensible compassion

It’s so difficult to save someone as weak-minded as me from my own existence, isn’t it? 

I even had to resurrect this poem’s ABAB rhyme scheme, so no wonder then, it’s me you’d abandon


So I remember, once more, the collection of short stories I got for my birthday, 

The lingering wraith— your spirit resides in my mind, though it left the plane I inhabit,

Sunny Saturdays have morphed into monsoon Mondays as my castle of tears washes away

Heroism, redemption arcs, all left behind in childhood fairytales— or brought to the pulpit


I have to concede, there are too many things currently incomprehensible,

It is utter madness to mourn this fact, and expect some light to be shed on the esoteric

I’ll carry my conscience as compass, continue to rue your loss—of this act I am more than able

But never again, no longer can I continue this quest to be—whatever that means— heroic.

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