Holly Lyn Walrath
Use to anoint torches and consecrate hope chests. Endows protection as well as psychic and mystical powers. If planted inside a fairy ring, it will bring prosperity to the closest home. If burned, it creates a hypnotic state that is often perilous.
I am crafting my worry like it is love,
but when you leave me I feel only hollow.
We just need to get through this paycheck
and make it to the next, then we can buy
you some medicine and stop stealing it
off of trucks parked by the pharmacy.
I send you off to work knowing the tumor
is growing in your mind like a bad thought
and I wonder if it will squeeze away all
your memories of me and the time we’ve had
together. Will you forget all the hope
we stored in open jars to let rot?
Will you forget the song you used to sing to me
before bed with my knees curled up on your belly
and your head touching mine like a lullaby?
I don’t know. But I send you to work anyway.
Knowing you might come back empty.
If there was a spell to keep you safe,
I’d cast it.
Holly Lyn Walrath’s poetry and short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Fireside Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, Liminality, and Analog. She is the author of Glimmerglass Girl (Finishing Line Press, 2018), winner of the Elgin Award for best speculative chapbook, and Numinose Lapidi, a chapbook in Italian from Kipple Press. She holds a B.A. in English from The University of Texas and a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. You can find her canoeing the bayou in Houston, Texas, on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath, or at www.hlwalrath.com.