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Brighid

BRIGHID
 
Six years old,
youngest of the demon's servants,
didn't cry when the king
roused her after the demon's death;
nor when, an hour later, she remembered
the cut-off scorched scream
her dad gave, aflame;
nor when, towards evening,
a fishmonger recognized her
and offered to see her back to her aunt;
nor when, weeks later, the fishmonger
delivered her to her aunt, who hugged her --
and hugged the fishmonger --
and wept.
 
That night the farm tomcat,
a gray and surly mouser
not inclined to affection,
lay down on Brighid's blanket
and matter-of-factly licked her arm,
her bare shoulder, her face,
his rough tongue rasping her skin,
and she cried,
thinking not of her dad,
or their burnt home, their burnt town,
but of her mother's voice,
a voice she'd forgotten
until the demon borrowed it,
that she'd known to be a lie
but followed anyhow.

First published in Apex Magazine.
 

 

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