Prometheus Dawning (The Afterlife of Echo) – Sofija Popovska

“Prologue” (I.)


The rains long gone —

Now a shadow over barren fields —

Smell of ash. The memory of blue

Over black earth

Is an altar to an absent god. 

In the dried bruises I pick at burnt sands

And let them fall through my fingers:

Homelands built in the umbra of a beloved body,

Skulls filled with nothing but heartbeats,

Words fed to the river flowing through two ghosts, grainy and grey in the gathering static;

They rise up to the wrought-iron skies like a tulle kerchief to rain down somewhere else.

This means nothing, not anymore.

In the skeleton of the world,

At the end of longing,

I bend over fossils of silences that contained all it matters to contain

And realize I feel nothing. I guess I am dead.

And so when I see your distant shadow on the horizon,

Bringing with you a giant red sun that tore the shadow off the sky and filled it with blood and fire,

I shivered to think the familiar lump in my chest might be a phantom pain.

I said a prayer through tears I was afraid were phantom tears.

“Please,” I was saying, “please.”


“I, Echo” (II.)


In the empty temple,

Between columns, bone-white, 

Piercing the skies like ribs gone feral once they found nothing to curve around and hold,

Mercurial echoes disappear into fog deserts and the lashed midnight backs of mountains,

Winds sweep dark sands through the porticos.

Shuffling through stillborn halls,

I — the Severed End —

Whisper to myself:

“You aren’t here, you aren’t here.” 

I’ve forgotten your name.

Not even the taste, not even the shade of sky when it was on my lips.

Nothing, not anymore. And then, like a heartbeat trailing off:

“Nothing, nothing, nothing…”

Through the teeth, the lips ossified to bloodless surrender.

Through the skull where silence rings out with sacrificial totality.

(An archangel frozen to stone on a dead planet. Nothing to hold, nothing to hold.)

From the bone marrow. Where the failing heart escapes to.

To be a bottled message. Maybe for someone else.

Someone who could read a broken bone.


“You, Prometheus” (III.)


A new moon crests uncertain skies.

I know you’re there, behind the shadow;

Behind the stirring ashes, behind the shadow of a mother’s eye,

In a soft halfdark, you wait to be born.

I will wait, too.

The sky floods with liminal pink.

I will wait for you, walk to you, but I’ll need a sign;

The sky is starless.

A thin cloud curves around the blind spot, around you.

The cloud is a sickle. 

Your eye is a sickle. I tasted blood as soon as I saw your face.

Your name is the name to my Odyssey,

The red sun that falls into the sea to hold my bruised wax wings.

Your name is the gore of destiny among the stings of false prophecies.

Now I walk to the edge of the world,

Where a damning fire rises above shadows and absences,

Where I know with certainty I will disappear. 

It is all I want

After echoing halls filled with everything that means nothing,

After the bare bones of longing for a forgotten name,

A type of getting lost which makes impossible to ever burn again.

I want you to release me from the wilt of wandering,

From this senseless eternity.

It’s by the pillars of fire,

By the certainty of destruction,

That I know:

“It has to be you.”


“For Narcissus”(IV.)



The incision is in the lips

That give

The magic to liminal ashes stirring into 

Morning hours.


The incision was in the music of past fires,

Fossils of longing.

The incision was a word you can keep,

A gift to you that is a past fire,

That is a fossil,

That is ash in the morning hours.

A blue sky ripped it out of my heart,

The autumn wind ripped it off my lips.

I lie in other arms and wait; 

Every time the heart that beats under dear ribs pauses I wait.

I wait and continue, I am the gray blood of dusks and dawns,

I am for these arms and this pausing heart.

The word that is a gift you can keep

Doesn’t matter much anymore.




And it doesn’t kill me anymore 

The music of thinking. 

The music of a bleak oily sun

Over afternoon fields and untangling birds and untangling hair and afternoon lovers —

All shadowless.

After the rain stops and leaves behind the music of thinking

And a grease stain replaces tormented ash in the sky

I am left with myself 

And everything, everything.

Every road curls back into the umbra of your body,

Every word grows to be reaped with the light-sickles in your eyes,

Every moment converges into the second before you say it and hum to touch the air between us to know if you may,


I have everything now.