Original art by Christian Schloe
I wanted to take my children when I left, but they had already flown away, free on the sweet winds of change.
I wanted to take my dog, but he looked at me with his one blue eye and his one brown eye and said, "I will find you again, trust me."
I wanted to take my books, but there were too many. A quick look around, and they told me to run with the wolves, rise rooted, see the dark country and the house of light, and find the lightning tree. They never said take me.
So, when I left, all I took was my imagination.
It was nestled under the scars of my breast: a young maiden with no hands, woods with darkness, a women's cottage, an apple tree behind the castle.
It was lingering in my lungs, calling the air I was gasping for, full of ravens and crows and the old woman weaving near the fire, at the back of the cave.
It was dancing in my legs at the songs of the whales with a young prince searching for the golden bird and three bears from the old country.
It was slithering along my spine with the Queen of Swords, a golden snake with emeralds for eyes, and memories of a language not spoken anymore.
When I left, all I took with me was my imagination, and together we built houses for those who are leaving right now and have cried in the rumbles of bombed buildings.
We created fields of wildflowers, petals waving under the sun, for those who are leaving right now and have walked the decimated streets searching for a husband, a grandmother, a friend, a son.
We made boats with large white sails, soft cushions, and lovely music for those who are leaving right now and have witnessed hundreds of tanks invading the streets of their city.
We assembled soft beds made of feathers and wool, with embroideries that would bring dreams to the children again, for those who are leaving right now and have lived the nightmares of destruction and death.
When I left, all I took was the only thing I had that could create a better future.