This is the portal:
the doors swish apart
and the light—
this wondrous light!—and the wind!
The wind’s a surprise,
balmy and comforting.

The sanctuary is perched
above an abyss.
Overhead there are clouds
forging silvery streaks of lightning.
Ah, but look, these are birds!
And like the edges of my cloak
they flutter in the breeze.

There’s murmuring at my back
hands that reach out to clutch
just as I determine to avoid them.

For up above there is a fortress.
Blinkered, as closed as a tomb
and yet—how in heaven do I know this?—
someone is imprisoned
deep within its core.

I stumble up the rocks,
my bare feet bleeding,
wondering, all the time wondering,
am I a patient here? A doctor?
A witch?

Poem and drawing by Nora Leonard