Quiet in Her Mind

By Ann K. Schwader

Quiet in her mind, until the strangers

come again with tongues of blood & faith

& prophecy, each language a mutation

of myth hardwired into her primate brain.

She learned them all in childhood from the lights

that burned her dreams to spiral ashes. Blue

beyond the grammar of imagination,

they lifted her past midnight into truth.

Years afterward, the whispers started. Starlight

turned them shrill as crystal in her head,

until a random shard drew scarlet. Sirens

& bandages, that night. A whiff of death.

Her doctors bottled rainbows by the fistful,

banished edged temptation. Silence fell

like blackout curtains blank across her window,

a singularity they called a self.

Hostage to her own event horizon,

she lays out pills in patterns half-recalled

from sleep as blue as ashes. Spirals widen

across her floor: she traces them in chalk.

Quiet in her mind gives way to strangers

with myths for maps, whose prophecies scrawl tongues

of fire across our midnight sky. The curtains

are tatters now. She whispers, "It's begun."


Ann K. Schwader lives, writes, and corgi-walks in Westminster, CO. She is the winner of the 2010 Short Form Rhysling Award, and her dark SF poetry collection Wild Hunt of the Stars recently appeared from Sam's Dot Publishing. She is a member of SFWA, HWA, and SFPA. Her LiveJournal is Yaddith Times, and you can see more of her past work in our archives.