The first time I watched it, I remember being floored
that Iron Town’s ruler, Lady Eboshi—who I actually
kind of liked, even though I maybe wasn’t supposed
to, because she wanted what she could name—
really shoots off the Forest Spirit’s head. I didn’t believe
she’d follow through with it once she sees him
with her own eyes. Now I’m like, Seems about right.
I suppose we all want to show everyone we know
how to kill a god of life and death. We can all be
short-sighted sometimes, and we’ll do anything
to feel in control. I thought about the Night-Walker,
the Forest Spirit’s nocturnal form, the other evening
when my boyfriend and I went a little wayward
on a nature trail after we lost track of time. The sky
was violaceous. The sky was amaranthine and studded
with bats flying more like moths than any bird until
it darkened suddenly as though from under a spilled glass
of wine. Neither of us cared. My legs ached pleasantly.
Sweat drizzled between my breasts. We were alone
in our own minds, in the memories we translate
to each other that’ll always remain slightly mythological,
as in both a solace and a warning. The whole point
of stories. I thought about why the Forest Spirit changes.
When I was young I perceived him as the night sky
within a body that reflects and guards. He was the God
I believed in, watching over us, and I felt righteous
and secure. Now I wonder if he wasn’t doing anything,
just walking around. During the day plants burst
fern-like from his steps. His body, a deer’s with a great
furred chest. Instead of antlers, his head’s a tree
with many branches. His face, a mask with direct eyes
and an omniscient smile. His blood cures wounds
but won’t lift curses. Some acts even a god can’t amend.
Lady Eboshi, I’ve been meaning to ask you for years
now: What did you think was going to happen?
How do you really kill a god? Dark on darkness
surrounding us almost makes us light. A rabbit sounds
larger than it is. Lavender wildflowers glow against
their eclipsed field. I believe a god is every generation.
Like people, his search destroys everything he touches
until they give him back his head. I thought about
how the forest grows again but is never going to be his.
Are we supposed to feel comforted? Are we supposed
to feel afraid? Maybe the whole point is to feel
neither, to surrender to the story’s end. Movement
even within shadows. We watch deer leaping into night.