She comes downstairs smelling of woodsmoke and pine,
hair a gilded knot,
hands flying up like two startled birds
when she lays eyes on me.
I’m only here by folly,
a sleek silhouette formed by misery and forest-magick
and then discarded. Spun glass. Not as fragile as you may think,
though; nothing so tenuous as a human.
A slide and a click and we are reunited.
I recognize curve and arch,
soft skin betrayed by ash and cinder.
Her shoulders round in relief;
she believes I am to be her savior. From childhood
to ripe teen, she has been enslaved and ogled,
handed down as an old dress with no glimmer
or pleasure to call her own.
She imagines she will miss the kitchen. Dark wood
and cold stone, the yeasty musk of fresh bread and
supple flesh of apricots. Stoking the fires each morning,
swiping a hand shadowed with soot across her flaxen hair.
I can’t bring the words to tell her. He has found her
and he will take her away, but that is just geography.
To truly be free, she must imagine my destruction,
she must discard me once more and begin a new journey over broken glass.
Amanda Crum is a writer and artist whose work can be found in publications such as Eastern Iowa Review, Blue Moon Literary and Art Review, and Dark Eclipse, as well as in several anthologies. Her first chapbook of horror poetry, The Madness In Our Marrow, made the shortlist for a Bram Stoker Award nomination in 2015; her latest, Trailer Trash, will be published by Finishing Line Press in early 2019. She currently lives in Kentucky with her husband and two children.
Artwork: Brooke Shaden