Brighid, by Mary Soon Lee



First published in Apex Magazine.

Six years old,
youngest of the demon’s servants,
didn’t cry when the king
roused her after the demon’s death;
nor when, an hour later, she remembered
her father’s scorched scream,
his flesh aflame;
nor when, toward evening,
a fishmonger recognized her
and offered to see her back to her aunt;
nor when, weeks later, the fishmonger
delivered her to her aunt, who hugged her–
and hugged the fishmonger–
and wept.

That night the farm tomcat,
a gray and surly mouser
not inclined to affection,
lay down on Brighid’s blanket
and matter-of-factly licked her arm,
her bare shoulder, her face,
his rough tongue rasping her skin,
and she cried,
thinking not of her father,
or their burnt home, their burnt town,
but of her mother’s voice,
a voice she’d forgotten
until the demon borrowed it,
that she’d known to be a lie
but followed anyhow.

 Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but now lives in Pittsburgh. She has won the Elgin Award and the Rhysling Award for her poetry. Of late, she has been working on The Sign of the Dragon, an epic fantasy presented in poetry. A dozen poems from the epic may be read at

Posted on December 21, 2016, in Issue 19: Speculative Poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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