Stone Telling

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by Mari Ness

I slide from the muddy waters,
long nosed, pink skinned, rolling
into arms and legs, shaking on
uneven ground. The leaves
fall hard around me. I hush
your strangled cries with
fish, sweet fish, so free of salt,
the gifts of mud and water,
and rinse you in the sullen rains.
Use me, oh use me, sweet my child,
to sing your skin and swelling belly,
to shadow secrets filthier than mud,
to tell them you are sick of dreams
of muddied water and river waves,
to blame me for this coming child.
And do not tell them, sweet my child,
how you know, oh how you know,
you do not, cannot, bear my child.
You know: you suckled at my breasts
before I slid back beneath the heavy river
to bury your secrets deep in river mud.

Mari Ness worships chocolate, words and music, in no particular order. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including Clarkesworld Magazine, Fantasy Magazine, Ideomancer and Goblin Fruit. You can keep up with her on her personal blog at, follow her on Twitter at mari_ness, or catch her weekly musings on the adventures of children and the fantastic over at She always likes to look beneath the surface of the water.