Size / / /

With me older and grown less whole.

With me weary and self-soiled.

And admittedly unaccountable.

Far here from home that never was my home.

Down dull yellow strands,

Down roiling yellowed beaches.

That grinding, elder flywheel of shattered memory.

The liminal tumult that breaks hope and dreams alike,

indifferent and in equal measure,

as if only so much granite.

Between the stone and the whirlpool

would I betray myself

in a guise a little less than shunned Circe's ire.

I would so sink the world.

But I alone would go a-foundering.

Swine and a woodpecker and heads of seven snarling dogs.

Too, these oddly placid lions

and wolves that show their throats.

I am all those, witch and bewitched.

Drowned and, likewise, drowning brine.

I am all those.

Caitlín R. Kiernan's novels include The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Her short fiction has been collected in several volumes, including Tales of Pain and Wonder, A is for Alien, The Ammonite Violin and Others, and Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One). She is a four-time nominee for the World Fantasy Award, an honoree for the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and has twice been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award. Born in Dublin, Eire, she now lives in Providence, RI.
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4 Dec 2023

“Ask me something only I would know.” You say this to your wife because you know you’re human. You can feel it in the familiar ache in your back, and the fear writhing in your guts. You feel it in the cold seeping into your bare feet from the kitchen floor. You know you’re real because you remember.
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