How many of our mirrors are the dead,
casting back from the graveside
what we practiced on them in life?
Guilt gnaws in the ear like henbane,
the green ache of a long-knit wound
still sullen to the touch as coming storms.
Claudius in his blood-bought bride-bed
dreams of his wife and the bone-raking scrawl of steel,
writhing like old Jutland’s Loki
under the poison dripped nightly in his ear,
that low, chill whisper, an armored gauntlet at his throat:
brother, as I am, so you will be,
murdered, fire-bound, beyond philosophy.
Sonya Taaffe’s short fiction and poetry can be found in the collections Postcards from the Province of Hyphens (Prime Books), Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books), and A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press), and in anthologies including Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, and The Best of Not One of Us. She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons; she holds master’s degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object. She lives in Somerville with her husband and their potential cat.