BOTW Poems


He’s come to dread the mystic shimmer of soundtrack

that accompanies each shrine, the suffocation

of an ancient sub-basement taunting him with

unlit circuits, unscalable walls, unsupported code

for fighting his way free. There’s a savory taste

under his tongue when his claymore connects

with a hinox’s meaty thigh or a moblin’s slackjawed mug,

a beacon of adrenaline humming heavenward

when he brings a blight ganon to its bolted knees.

Is that wrong to want? Is it not enough to be

the sword that seals the darkness, cutting through malice

like molten caramel? Miserably flicking switches

and pushing pressure plates, he pictures life

moving forward above him, without him—

horses cantering through the kudzu’d ruins

of what time killed before he had the chance.

He’d cheat his way from these chilled vaults

if you let him. And you let him.


It seems impossible, doesn’t it, that anyone

could endure anything for that long. And yet

you do it every month, the pain shaking

you awake at 1 – 2 – 3 AM, then plunging

you through a pane of stained glass

into a sanctum painted endtimes red.

You hear the clacking of its mandibles

as your eyes adjust to the darkness,

watch it cutscene its way out of hell,

an engorged amalgam of everything

barcrawling and backlit, everything backed up

in the bend of the bathroom sink.

Hugely, it moves. Cleaving to the ceiling

like a silverfish, dying and spawning back

stronger with each extermination.

It seems impossible, doesn’t it, how far

the spirit roams while the body barricades

itself behind heat and acetaminophen.

But look at you now, skewed sideways

in the mirror, asking yourself, If a woman

looks long enough at her reflection,

will the answer eventually be god? 


At the beginning, you can’t believe

what you can’t.

Can’t climb

the metal frame of a sheikah tower

without your grip slipping, pitching

you face-first into a nest of thorns.

Can’t take the stairs to the office 

where you can’t—doctor’s orders—

lift anything heavier than five pounds.

Can’t even float down three easy miles

of Shenandoah without sinking

through your inner tube to rock bottom.

Your century in stasis took more

than your memories; it took

your strength. Occluded in blue,

stripped and anesthesia-dripped,

you slept off the things that made

and unmade you, and when

the sliding doors unsealed you

from your sterile entombment

the world invited you to run

barefoot circles through the forest,

shaky, weak, and breathless

to be alive.

Rita Feinstein is the author of two poetry collections, both from Brain Mill Press, and a young adult novel forthcoming from Page Street. Her work has appeared in PermafrostGrist, and Willow Springs, among other publications, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets.

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