Conditional Statements

Conditional Statements
Margaret Wack

She says, will you always love me?
He says, yes, always. I will love you
when you explode into a thousand brilliant
licks of flames and are too cold to touch

or look at. I will love you when you crunch
my bones in your mouth like glass and swallow
and the shards cut your stomach, when you cry
for days but cannot stop eating me. I will love you

when you open all the curtains at the first
hint of dawn and stare at the sky like a dog
in heat and cannot stop. I will love you
when we begin to wear the masks of foxes

and do not ever take them off to eat, to sleep,
to breathe. I will love you though we live
in a fragile world made of so much glass:
bones, cups of tea still half-full and half-warm

that spill and shatter when you throw them,
vases, windows, hearts. Better to have built
ourselves of wood as soft as flesh but then
we would burn. I will love you when your body

is like wine turned to vinegar and sours
in my mouth, when your skin is the skin
of a rotten fruit, when your eyes are glass
marbles with no life to them that only weep

and stare. He says, will you always love me?
She says, yes, always. I will love you
when our shadows move like cats in front of us
and refuse to touch each other, when our hair

tangles into awful braids and will not let go.
I will love you when you wake in the morning
smelling of wild peaches and ask me to swallow you
until my jaw breaks, when you take the halves of my jaw

and display them on the mantle, weave flowers
through their insides and light incense
in between the teeth. I will love you
when you claw yourself up from the cellar

wild with wintering and circle the house three times
and eat the lamb that I have slaughtered for you
in the front yard. I will love you when you burst the bounds
of your body and become something other,

I will love you when I am dead and my ghost
clutches at you like some bright shard,
I will haunt you for all of your days
and you will never know respite. I will love you

even when you have left me, when you taste
as sweet as ashes on my tongue and appear
like a bird in the sky, like an omen,
then are gone.


Margaret Wack has had her work previously published in Strange Horizons, Devilfish Review, and right here in Liminality, among other fine venues. More can be found at