Silk Road

Jennifer Crow

Silk Road

Who follows the road beyond the city?
Ghosts whirling dust under sunset skies
and wizard-folk sweeping the bone-strewn path
with the long hems of tattered robes
stitched in tarnished sigils and scented
by skin and spice. The guilty creep
through moonlit valleys, the hopeful hurry
across mountain passes, the lost gather berries
and mourn kin with their ancient songs.
Some merchant, weighted with sharp-hued bolts
of cloth, bags of pearls, saffron and pepper
bottled and sealed, watches the horizon
for storm clouds or bandits riding swift steeds
A thousand hearts have broken on this road,
a million coins have spilled in the sand,
untold dreams have vanished
like sweat drying in a breeze.
A bird curls over the hills, a wild horse
raises red banners from the summer earth
and I cast a summoning woven from memory
and the captive salt of your tears.


Jennifer Crow’s poetry has appeared in a number of print and electronic venues. Besides work in Abyss & Apex, she’s also had poems published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Uncanny Magazine, and Kaleidotrope among others. In 2018, she’s also begun working as a slush reader for Amazing Stories’ poetry department, which has been an interesting and educational experience. Readers who are interested in learning more about her work can follow her on Twitter @writerjencrow or join her Patreon.

Editor’s Notes: Crow goes far beyond the historical legacacies of the Silk Road. The images merge an abstract image created with Apophysis—an open source fractal flame editor and renderer (by Lars Sundström) with Golden desert (by Mdtmfghjl on Yellow Wallpaper) to capture “Ghosts whirling dust under sunset skies”

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