After the Dance

We don’t talk
about the ninth,
the quiet one,
who followed us down the slick dark steps,
who always drank the silver wine.

We don’t talk
about the men
of how they held her
in cold cold hands.

We don’t  talk
about the blood
that dried in patterns
on her skin.

We don’t talk
about the boats,
the cold and shaking
silver boats.

We don’t talk
about the way
she brought her wrist
to her mouth.

We don’t talk
about the flecks
of metal shining
through her scars.

We don’t talk
about the trees
those dancing, silvered
shadowed trees.

We don’t talk
about the night
she slipped off in the cold cold wind,
her feet bare against the slick slick stones.

We don’t talk
about the dance
that was to bring her
to her prince.

Shadowed, she is
our sister still,
and we don’t talk.
We don’t.

Mari Ness

Mari Ness has published poetry and fiction in Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Fireside, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, and previously here in Uncanny. Her poetry novella, Through Immortal Shadows Singing, is currently available from Papaveria Press, and her first essay collection, Resistance and Transformation: On Fairy Tales, is forthcoming from Aqueduct Press. For more, see her website at marikness.wordpress.com, or follow her on Twitter @mari_ness. She lives in central Florida.

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