Still by Jennifer Crow

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Still by Jennifer Crow
Illustration by Sue Babcock

Narrated by Jennifer Crow

Sometimes, the grief you have become
takes up so much space in my chest,
I can hardly breathe for the lingering presence.
Cut from stone, burned from steel, you
are always one heartbeat away from dream,
and I am one breath from disaster.

We met on the treacherous ground between
holy sacrament and fae feast. Passed bread
like flesh, hand to hand, mouth to mouth—
and for all that I have no words from you, still
I carry you in my cells. Something from you
makes up the walls that hold me together.

Wait. Life peels that away. Science tells us
sooner or later everything in the old being dies,
sloughed off for something new. Seven years
is all we have of us, just like in a tale, and then
the mouthful you gave me passes to memory,
and the air I breathed from your lungs
becomes the world’s quiet exhalation.

And even were that not true, time etches
deep lines into my face, and I think
if we met, you would not see the woman
I was in that moment, even though she still lives,
perhaps in that morsel of bread
I took from your hand.


BIO: Shy and nocturnal, Jennifer Crow has rarely been photographed in the wild, but it’s rumored that she lives near a waterfall in western New York. You can find her poetry on several websites and in various print magazines including Asimov’s Science Fiction, Uncanny Magazine, Liminality and Kaleidotrope. She’s always happy to connect with readers on her Facebook author page or on twitter @writerjencrow.