by Becca de la Rosa
If you had asked, I would have told you Babylon, where haystacks rose and fell like empires and we threw our wishes to them, bright as coins. Children lived in haystacks wild, illiterate children mute to our language, breathing streaks of hay with lungs like clamped jaws. We passed one town whose women carried rivers inside their braided robes, and offered us fish, cool water, salt to lick from rocks, sweet reeds. Another, men with faces sheer as cliffs strung chains of charcoal round our necks and when we slept, we dreamed of cities drowned in ash. Did I say Babylon? Our navigators cried out, married their maps, gave birth to daughters impossible to chart. You say you know my father's name. I myself saw creatures without genus drink from the night sky to quench their thirst and watch our caravans and cohorts as we passed, bright-eyed. At Delphi a man with features made of fire told me his dream: a dream of death, he said, my father's death, my own, and one would kill the other. You know my father's name? I have my own dream. To hunt for him until the sea and mountain of this country have worn to dust, until we lose our speech, until daughters of cartographers and maps cut down our hearts like blades of wheat.
Becca de la Rosa lives in Dublin, Ireland, with a snake and a roommate, and is studying Classical Mythology at university. She has had her work published in Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld Magazine, The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, and Sybil's Garage No. 6, among other places. You can find her online at her website. Her favourite fruits are black cherries, crunchy apples, and avocados so ripe they melt off the stone.
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