I want to give you Lilith of the towpaths,
the woman who watches joggers pass in the pearl-wet morning
like sand drifting closed against doors,
shaking her hair back over her rain-turned collar,
calling your black dog to heel.
She has no use for apples, ripening in the smell of leaf-mold,
for honey or wine or May blossom-white barley;
her fingers are sticky with lotus paste,
her tar-long brows no darker than the beer she drinks.
She will offer it to you, under the soft red bricks
where ghost signs wrote her name in lichen and smoke.
You can pour it out or walk on by, not tasting
the sun spilling roofs bright as the demon-winged desert,
her daughters reflecting like willows in the canal.
Sonya Taaffe’s short stories and poems have appeared in such venues as Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, Here, We Cross: A Collection of Queer and Genderfluid Poetry from Stone Telling, 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. Collected work can be found in Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books) and A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press). 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.