An umber moon swells; she strides beneath,
addling crickets, spurring parched-limb concertos,
strangled overtures of grief. Calloused feet
trample paths strewn with caterpillar-kissed petals
(fleeting affairs of the heart)
Living art shrivels. Each breath she takes
breaks another vein, siphons chlorophyll …
threading her needles with reluctant martyrs.
Entwined, the dead cycle. She hums,
drowses in busywork bliss, and quilts
time-delayed patterns of madras,
her annual lone-note interlude —
A shadow lengthens, splinters boughs,
nudges rust-spittled wind chimes.
Near the perimeter, Merlin strokes his beard,
biding Time, bidding Fate …
shrugging a leaden cloak of frost.
The Lady shivers, draws an arrow from her sling —
a swan’s serenade rings clear in the quiet.
[Jane Gwaltney was born on Travis Air Base near San Francisco,but has resided in St. Louis, Missouri, most of her life. She has received Honorable Mentions in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and Best Horror of the Year, Volume One. Her poetry, fiction, and art appear in Dreams and Nightmares, Wrong World, Wicked Hollow, Paper Crow, Redsine, Breath and Shadow, Champagne Shivers, Simulacrum, Aoife’s Kiss, and more. Her novella Darkness, Darkness (Sam’s Dot Publishing) is available in trade paperback.]