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 lives in central Florida, not too far away from mechanical dinosaurs who haven’t escaped their human overlords—yet. Her work has appeared in, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Fireside, Apex, Daily Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, and right here at Uncanny. She is also a contributing writer for and The Baum Bugle. Her poetry novella, Through Immortal Shadows Singing, was released last year by Papaveria Press. For more, follow her on Twitter at @mari_ness, or watch her blog at

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