by Mari Ness

I hid among the geese

to hide from the eyes,

the endless eyes that never let

me take a single step unseen.

Let my maid have all of that –

the heavy jewels, the king’s rough hands,

the silken presence of the sycophants

wrinkling their hands for gold.

I would have feathers and mud,

would raise my hands unseen.

Who would have guessed a servant boy,

an old king, and a slaughtered horse,

would still have eyes to follow?

Black stove, black stove, tell me how I may hide

now that I have lost my mother’s blood.

Quickly, tell tell –

the old king follows me with hungry eyes.

I fear his son’s eyes

will follow.


Other work by Mari Ness appears in Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Uncanny, Lightspeed, Nightmare, Apex, Nature Futures, Fireside, Diabolical Plots, Strange Horizons, Mermaids Monthly and Daily Science Fiction. Her poetry novella, Through Immortal Shadows Singing, is available from Papaveria Press, and a tiny chapbook of tiny fairy tales, Dancing in Silver Lands, from Neon Hemlock Press. For more, follow her on Twitter at  @Mari Ness   or visit her infrequently updated blog at  marikness.wordpress.com. She lives in central Florida.