by Cheryl Ruggiero

For Tiffany Trent, who first hung knuckle-bones in a kelpie's mane.

I am your myth,
slaughter-black horse from the depths,
so waterflowing-beautiful
your legs leap up like your heart,
and I leash you down
to drown as my feast.
Your fingerbones linger like waterchimes,
tangled in my mane
that floats like weed
as morning comes
and I watch your kin search
the gray-dawn shore.
Only my eyes break
the misting surface
into silent, spreading rings.
I am your un-faith
in what you hold:
Horse, your bearer
— in brawn your better.
Water, toiler in your turbines
— in torrent your terror.
Fire, your hearth-slave
— in heart-rage your slayer.
You cannot let me go because
I cannot let you live.
You die on my back.
I see your soul is sunlight,
my flesh is silt.

Cheryl Wood Ruggiero writes in the elder mountains of southwestern Virginia. Her speculative work has appeared in Abyss & Apex, The Tree-Lobed Burning Eye, AnotheRealm, Crimewave (anthology), The Dawntreader, and Luna Station Quarterly, among others, and is forthcoming in Neo-Opsis, Bewildering Stories, Cezanne's Carrot, Mirror Dance, and Shelter of Daylight (anthology). Her work that is speculative not in genre but because all imagination is speculative has appeared, among other places, in CALYX, South Carolina Review, The Potomac, The 2River View, Pebble Lake Review, and in her poetry chapbook Old Woman at the Warm Spring.

Favorite Fruit: Apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
Alternate-World Favorite Fruit: Red grapes

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