Stone Telling

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by Jacqueline West

- Pick these red and white flowers and make a wish.
They go together on a bright Saturday.
Holding hands in the sunlight, singing,
their full lunchpails dangling from elbows.
Chores are done, the milk sits skimmed
in its crock, bees hum through the thick orchard.

She is alone, for the first time all day,
or perhaps in days and days. A glass
of tea beads on the porch rail, and she leans
back, feeling nothing of the coming curse
in the breeze that lifts the ends of her hair.

Jacqueline West is the author of The Books of Elsewhere, a new middle-grade fantasy series from Dial/Penguin. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in journals including Ideomancer, Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, Illumen, Strange Horizons, The Pedestal Magazine, and Lone Star Stories. Visit her at

Photography: adapted from Breeze, by Diego Sevilla Ruiz.