the sorcerer’s price

by Maya Chhabra

for my next trick i will array a skeleton as a bride

and i will do it so finely that she will be wed

i will do it so finely you will think she speaks vows

i will deck her in lace and gold in equal measure

i will wind the dress about her hard bones

and i will veil her empty face

i will not make her live, but i will make her lovely,

lovelier than the blush of the living rose,

till you are clamoring to marry death

for my next trick i will charm the soul from within you

i will have it out your mouth as you lean in for a kiss

i will ferry you across the river

and then i will dance with your bones.


Maya Chhabra is a poet and writer living in New York. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange HorizonsLiminalityMythic DeliriumKaleidotropeStar*LineAnathemaTimeless TalesAbyss & ApexThe Cascadia Subduction ZoneThrough the GateMezzo Cammin, and Plainsongs. Her short fiction has appeared in Cast of Wonders and Anathema, and her translations from the Russian in Cardinal Points.