Size / / /

Feather light,
arcing taupe bird in distress,
red-tailed like autumn's first blaze.

I circle down to the well
to meet you with slate eyes and coal brows,
yellow irises zooming into
your ultra violet and neon yellow auras.

I cry a shrill warning, black ice
from the Otherworld with perspective.
I breathe smoke from your burnished fire,
and hone in on your retreat.

Touching down as a girl,
my face angles against a pewter sky,
it blends into the viridian stone,
a shimmering, translucent portal
between the now and then.

At the well, I drew in your love,
At the well, I transformed.

I turn my sharp, sinewy shape
into a shroud of spotted feathers,
a cloak in which to enclose your warm heart,
gold sparks flying in the black.
Maybe I would rip the muscle out,
maybe I could want more than flesh now.

I lean over your green helmet,
ask you to kiss me,
brush a talon finger on your face to break skin,
your look at once mesmerized and appalled.

You could have been my warrior then,
mine own to control,
but you misunderstood my surrender,
and instead drew your sword to match me.

They say a singular moment
can span a lifetime of love,
and this moment of battle was ours.

Predatory, neither bird nor woman,
the feathers molt from my shoulders
to reveal red skin, red hair,
raptor turns to rapture.

In the crevices of your mind,
you knew that you would be my only,
that I would be the mother
of the offspring you would kill,
the grey-veiled emissary at your deathbed.

Yet only I had drunk the well water
and only I would incarnate and soar,
fly and illuminate new moon nights
to absolve you of the pain that is to come,
live your legend and reflect on your love,
until the time circles back.




Kavitha Rath has lived in Atlanta, Chennai, and London. Her poetry has appeared in Danse Macabre, Fickle Muses, and New Asian Writing. You can find her at https://kavitharath.wordpress.com/.
Current Issue
24 Feb 2020

tight braids coiled into isles and continents against our scalps
By: Mayra Paris
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Mayra Paris's “New York, 2009.”
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Issue 13 Jan 2020
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