Twilight Instructions for Summer Spirits

Twilight Instructions for Summer Spirits
Gretchen Tessmer

I’ve been told it’s over
no more gladiolus in the garden—
the gangrene garden, brown
on my burst of glass iris, muddy violets
all coldly murdered
by Autumn’s relentless hunting

oh, she’s something
baroness of the frost-kissed ground

kneeling on snow dust
she reads signs in transparent lines
that form over pond water
palm pressed
against black ice
to herald Winter’s coming

(with all her black skies and lack of wick)

well, go on now…
lay violets on my grave
cut all the brush and heather down
to mulch and die and decompose

this daisy crown upon my head
will wither up like shriveled bones

my sister claims her victory
while I demure beneath the ice—
my arms are crossed upon my chest
sleeping like the damned undead

hush, do not mourn me
I keep these crocus buds warmly
clutched in each fist
for when Spring

(with all her sweet scents and clever tricks)

comes digging

Gretchen Tessmer is a writer based in the U.S./Canadian borderlands. She writes both short fiction and poetry, with work appearing in over forty publications, including Nature, Strange Horizons and F&SF, as well as previous appearances in Liminality.