Undoing Winter

by Shan­non Con­nor Winward

I went into ground for you. I faced the guardians
of the gates of hell.
I gave away my jew­eled bracelets
and marched naked to the cat-calls of the dead
all to res­cue your sor­ry ass
and here you are,
hud­dled on your mildewed throne
speech­less as a shrug.

I faced the shin­ing wrath of the sun
on your behalf
while you cried your soul away.
I made excus­es to the earth and sky
and fed the peas­ants gravel.
Give it time, I said. She is composting.
Come again tomorrow. 

But there’s been sev­en years of dark­ness, darling.
Time enough to con­quer demons
with your gen­tle heart.
We all know how lovely
your sor­row can be, we know how well this dim
under light becomes you.
But open your eyes, love. Behold your kingdom.
You are just an idol of fun­gus here,
Sov­er­eign queen of basements.

I wrote this song for you, dearheart.
I went to all this trouble.
Now I’m stand­ing before you and my feet are cold
in fact I’m fuck­ing freezing.
So get your coat.
It’s a long way to the light and I am leaving
and you are com­ing with me.
There will be no more discussion
because I will not waste my breath.
I need it to sing you home.

When we get there, I‘m going to take
a long, hot bath
to wash away this grime.
Then we’ll have tea and cake
on the veranda
and we will speak of spring.
Until then, I don’t want to see your face.

You can write son­nets, if you like
in praise of the Lord of Shadows.
Paint some stormy watercolors.
Invent a flower.
I don’t real­ly care
so long as you get started
undo­ing this win­ter that you created.

Shan­non Con­nor Win­ward’s work has appeared in venues such as: Pedestal Mag­a­zine, Flash Fic­tion Online, Strange Hori­zons, NewMyths.Com, Ideo­mancer, Sil­ver Blade and the antholo­gies Twist­ed Fairy Tales: Vol­ume Two (Wicked East Press), Jack-o’-Spec: Tales of Hal­loween and Fan­ta­sy (Raven Elek­trik Ink) and Spec-tac­u­lar: Fan­ta­sy Favorites from Raven Elec­trick Ink. Her poem, “All Soul­s’ Day” was nom­i­nat­ed for a 2012 Rhys­ling Award.

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