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We Hold Up Eternity

Holly Lyn Walrath

You make me into all of your favorite things. Wax-winged, you model my body to your likeness. Everything must be similar, the remains. You step upon my altar, run a finger along my lips, lick the dust from your skin. It tastes like skin cells and sweat and stardust. You carve a placard on my stomach which says, “straight and narrow.” Not meeting, our eyes seek out other things to focus on. The stars. The demons in the pit.
Hungry dears, you whisper. You bend my ears forward. Staple them down. I hear nothing but your breathing. One day I will no longer be stone, but flesh and blood and talon. I will hide among the living. I will break you.
For now, your accusations hold. Your talons disgust me, when they once sent a shiver down my spine, inching up my thigh. Creeping close to you at night, I whisper star-soaked words to your knee, your hips. You turn in your sleep.
“You don’t belong here, little fake,” you murmer, sliding a hand under your pillow to find the cool place, the dark hole kept in your pocket-pillow, the one you stole from my mouth. You grind your teeth.
I slip back to the wall by morning, climb the stairs. There with my sisters, we hold up eternity.

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.