Undoing Winter

by Shannon Connor Winward
(USA)

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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