Size / / /

Have no regret.

Before you turned I'd fled, my back to yours,
Along that path of bone and cinder and, ignis fatuus,
Winked out of sight.

Drawn in the draught of your desire
I'd followed dumb, as sparks fly skyward,
Ignorant of night—

Till sense began to swarm in me,
Each step reared up mountainous,
And limbs, lagged with flesh, felt sudden weight.

A dreamer gasps from drowning, wakes to panic—
So the unspooled hours wound tight
Again about my throat,

My veins, embalmed in Lethe's water, seeped with blood,
Eyes recongealed their jelly—
Monstrous transformation!

Thus I saw you pace before, more shade than man,
Cradling that dearer-than-a-child
With which you'd plucked me, quickened, quivering,

Ever your reverberant
Second string.

Catherine Butler is the author of six children's/YA novels, including The Fetch of Mardy Watt and Death of a Ghost. She is also Associate Professor of English at the University of the West of England and has written numerous critical books, including the Mythopoeic Award-winning Four British Fantasists and Reading History in Children's Books. She is the editor of Philip Pullman: A New Casebook and Twisted Winter.
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