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 A woman confronting surreal swirls in a strange landscape.

Black Irises


no female ever

Athani with her black irises
dwells at the edges, wide
pupils haunting the firefly trails of braves
seeking glory in the Outer Lands.

no female ever

Such dreams, kept invisible.
Devoured by tales of a lost past —
mammalian monoliths in a lost sea,
white desert bones bathed by the breath
of the Earth-Current, splinters of wooden ships
crewed alone by bare-breasted, scale-waisted

no female ever

She had seen blood and broken bones
dragged back from the darkness,
deep scars, arcs of teethmarks,
yet still, a shadow beacon burned

no female ever

no cure without medicine
her arm ached, longed
for the sharp sting
before freedom.

Only fear held her,
dreams of wide mouths,
claws matching scar scabbards
born by the knowing. Fear,
convenient law.

no female before

© 2002 by Lucy A. E. Ward.
Illustration © by Tais Teng.