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We’re at seasons' edge here. Make a door, a thrown-down wall
of this time. These are the nights when the dead return in rain,
showers twist strange against the wind; stippled faces
flit under streetlights. Ghost-skin tracks the window,
whispers dissolve in the gutter. It’s left to warmer mouths
to shape the tale. This is your first time at telling;
no words or water have passed your lips in days. Cup your hands,
open your mouth to the sky. Drink deep of it,
honey-slick and freighted with ash: the aftertaste is memory.
Your tongue moves shy over others' words, lending breath.
Welcome now. We have made a circle broad enough
to hold death in. Step inside. Tell us a story from the dark places.
For a tale, a candle, burning until you fall again.

Mat Joiner lives near Birmingham, England, where they absorb tea and second-hand books, watch foxes, and admire crumbling buildings. Their stories and poems have appeared in Not One Of UsLackingtons, Goblin Fruit, and Stone Telling. You can find them on Twitter as @damsonfox
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