by Virginia M. Mohlere

How many years lost at sea,
a blood-dark sea,
in a coracle made of bone —
threading the narrow current
desire's whirlpool
and duty’s rock.
                Something always sings the heart
                off course:
                heart of the southern hemisphere,
                navigating by constellation.
But voyages to the ghost world
never generate souvenirs — 
things are only left there,
splinters, scraps of skin.
                (Hell is a country of lost possessions.)
The heart cast off its lines
after years hiding
in a cow-shaped box,
waiting for a bull-skinned god,
waiting to transform, flower to grain,
                into a reflecting pool,
                an amber-dripped tree,
                a flight of arrows.
                Or suddenly setting hounds
                                to the object of lust
                                and playing wetly in the shreds.
It is a heart
constructed by a lonely doll-maker,
                cobbled together with stitches and tape,
                parts knocked off like the moon,
                formed and reformed.
As a bone knit after fracture
is stronger,
this heart
is more elastic, powerful, but it
simply ticks off time —
worn out by tumult,
ruddering from star to star.
Hoping to wash up
on a quiet grey shore.

Virginia Mohlere was born on one solstice, and her sister was born on the other. Her chronic writing disorder stems from early childhood. She is an assistant editor of Scheherezade's Bequest. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Cabinet des Fées, Chiaroscuro, Mythic Delirium, Strange Horizons, and Mad Scientist Journal, among others. She can usually be found with ink stains on her fingers and tea stains on her shirt.

When asked what she is currently reading, Mohlere replied, "I'm currently reading Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers. Pre-Raphaelites + vampires = WHEEE!"

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