Stone Telling

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by Lisa M. Bradley

in mother's bed
beneath gramma's sheets
I'm anchored by blankets
anvil-heavy, dreamless
my thoughts chloroformed by
mothball ghosts and natural gas
I stare at the ceramic space heater
its low flames chaste as Catholic votives
and wonder why
in mother's bed
beneath gramma's sheets
I never warm
cold, comfortless
my fingers, toes, and nose numb
as a runaway's lumped-pillow ruse
I think, "I could rise and twist the knob,
drag the heat a little nearer, but
what if," I wonder, "I find myself pinned
in mother's bed
beneath gramma's sheets
ensconced in this iron maiden
absolute, seamless
my edges cold-pressed into leaden coverlets
the weave of generations?"
I struggle against the pattern
invisible needles stitching me in place
and wonder how long
in mother's bed
beneath gramma's sheets
I shall sink in the deadlinens
absorbed, hopeless
my mind merging with the others—
mothers all—before
we watch her last breath dwindle
the last thread in our tapestry
and wonder why she ever left the safety
of mother's bed

Originally from South Texas, Lisa M. Bradley now lives in Iowa with her husband, daughter, and two cats. Her poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Weird Fiction Review, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, and numerous other venues. She also has a story in the recently released Fungi anthology. Both her poetry and fiction have received honorable mentions in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. Find her at Cafe Nowhere or on Twitter, @cafenowhere 

Photography: adapted from Sick as a dog by Maria.