First appeared in Not One of Us #47, 4/10/12

The Living Dead
Amanda C. Davis

We survivors bathe our skin in mud
To hide in shattered alleys
From our sharp-eyed conquerors.

We rend our parents’ bodies–
Flesh, fat, meat, marrow–
This gray hair
Will make a pillow
Or a fire.

We keep our women pregnant.

We eat dogs
With collars on.

Weep for us,
Our lucky brothers
Carried off at the start:
We, the damned victors,
You, the lucky failures!

Blessed are the poor in stamina,
For they elude the kingdom of Hell.

We curse the strength
That powers us through desperate evils;
The will that drives our crime,
Squalor,
Sin;
The health that squeezes out
Each stabbing breath.
We dance to puppet-strings entangled
In our own cruel hands.

To be weak,
The happy dead!

But we live on,
We soldiers,
Survivors,
Strong enough to suffer,
Monsters, all.

#

More poems, here: Wolves and Witches: A Fairy Tale Anthology

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First appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #57, 4/30/13.

Missed Connections > Pocket Universe
Amanda C. Davis

At the time travelers’ ball,
You had a HELLO MY YEAR IS sticker
With a date just ten years from mine.

I was drinking very old wine
From the future, cached in the ancient past,
Aged for millennia, very pricey.
It went to my head.
Such things do.

I cornered you by the hors d’oeuvres.

“It looks like we’re from–”
I said in my mind,
“No–going my way?
“No–more like coming from my direction,
“But that’s terribly clumsy,
“And speaking of time as if it were space
“Is so amateur.
“You’d think I’d have a line all ready
“For this situation–”

But you’d spotted me, it was too late,
So I said,
“I can’t help but notice
“Ooh, what kind of pâté is that?”

It was very old wine.
I hadn’t eaten since lunch.

You said, “Some kind of dinosaur.
“It’s such a waste.”

I said, “I say that all the time,”
And finished my glass
(Grapes genetically perfected,
Yeast designed in a lab,
Squirreled in a cave near the Dead Sea
To wait four thousand years
For our sommelier.)

I said, “I noticed you’re from my historical era.”
I said, “Do you recall”

You said, “I prefer not to.
“We anachronists run in two colors, you know;
“The nostalgic
“And the avoidant.”

I said, “You avoid?”

You said, “Time is another kind of space we use
“To buffer ourselves.”
(You hadn’t seemed like an amateur.)
“Enjoy the pâté.”

I never saw you again.

On the balcony with some Edwardians,
A Harvard Neanderthal,
And some tourists from Gliese 581 c,
I asked if they knew you.
They said, “Don’t mind that one.
“We know the type
“And knowing you,
“My dear,
“You’d never have crossed paths
“Anyhow.”

#

More poems, here: Wolves and Witches: A Fairy Tale Anthology

Check out all my free-to-read work–including podcasts!–here.

Love this story?Buy me a coffee at ko-fi.com