Sentinel

Hester J. Rook

Sentinel

The silence is soft
a velveteen stillness.
She is studded with iolite and stainless steel
laid out neat from crown to sole
arms folded across her waist.
Gleaming silvered and ensorcelled
I cannot tell if she is even breathing.

Her sheets are crushed red, staining her skin
and her hair is tumbled, messed
as though a place for burrowing creatures and birds.
I, sentinel, do not touch her except to comb her hair each day
dragging it strand by strand through wooden teeth
teasing at knots
until it splays from her head, soft as lint
a lion’s mane.

Some days her lips are purple
and my breath fogs the air.
I hope she cannot feel the cold
as the night sky frosts
into the dawn
and the wind burns with ice.

I count the days of waiting
a melt of summers freezing into winter
and blooming again.
My husband’s curse still shadows us –
as if a wife cannot choose her own path.
But what did he ever know of love?

On the longest night
I wrote smatterings of poetry in the spaces between her fingertips
permanent and strange
and I swear by morning
her lips had curved
into half a smile.

_______________

Hester J. Rook is an itinerant Australian with an unhealthy obsession with myth, dead languages and the circus. She spends a lot of time writing speculative fiction and upside down on a trapeze – not usually at the same time. She is one of a team of editors running Twisted Moon, a magazine of erotic speculative poetry. You can find her on Twitter at @kitemonster and her work on her site hesterjrook.wordpress.com.

Editor’s Note: Pixabay images of an android and woman are superimposed.

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