Lida Broadhurst


Through blackness, sharpening to gray, mother scuttles, in rhythm with Its screaming, to their child,  her only consolation, and soon, he has threatened, his. Barely able to clutch it with hands, newly bloodless, veined with impotent blades.

Child, unwound from confusion of cobwebs, mumbles terror of moonbeams, seeking answers from her eyes.  Mother murmurs, Moon rolls through the night sky, pretending it reflects power like the sun. Your father promises only sun will slice our skin.  This chamber stays empty, nothing to harm you, my webling, no not a soul.

Then, lulled by its deep sweet breathing, she reclines against its pillow, dares to remember lambs dancing, ebon carved hooves, crushing the meadow grass.  The same meadow where night wind scraped the uncrushed velvet of her skin, when she offered her mouth to one demanding all.

As happens so often lately, the moment’s innocence flits like a butterfly, beyond anyone’s reach.  Like the memory of her life once quilted by growing things. Another truth her mother, so careful with curtain or carpet, missed. Darkness fades as many things as light.

A rustle startles her.  He keeps the place free of rats and mice, like a cat, but without its needs. Aware of someone smirking behind the wall, concealing its tongue, she smoothes the darkness of the child’s hair. The mirror he allows only here, reflects the younger face, which in turn reflects his once loved features. But search as she may, the glass is still washed clean of her image. She brushes her hand across her eyes, to prevent the sight. Moans like an abandoned lamb, not a soul.

Ceiling driblets echo like a prayer: not a soul, not a soul.

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