THE FOUR FATES

by Siobhan Thompson

what a shame it is

to have this body for four seasons

winter summer spring and fall

what a shame it is

to have this body

to take care of

myself.

 

my mind freezes in the cold.

my brain can’t handle the jagged bite of frost.

it’s got this fight or flight thing,

and it always chooses the cowardly way out,

and it always wants me to come with.

 

when Winter comes on pointed heels,

every weak slight of sunshine is a hail mary

now, and at the hour of our deaths

i beg her for release

from her unmentionable

her unnameable pain.

but she only dusts her snow on my chest

and drips her icicles from my mouth

Winter never says much.

Winter never has much to say at all.

 

“it was the cold,” i tell Spring, who sweats at the temples

as they try to bring back what Winter took away

they listened to Demeter wail for Persephone, too

Demeter didn’t realize she brought the frost herself

and Spring didn’t have the heart to tell her

the same way they won’t tell me

so they listen and listen

work and work

to melt the ice

and thaw the rivers

to convince the terrified Sun

to come out again.

 

we say rebirth happens in Summer,

we say pretty girls are summer colored,

and everyone else is not.

Summer lingered when i was young 

and i had something to give her.

she liked to kiss my skin,

and lighten my hair.

but now i’m gray all over,

my hair and skin and teeth and eyes,

and all i have in my hands are the husks of memory.

i try to smile at her and say:

“remember when we were happy?”

“remember that tan on my wrists?”

“remember the way i used to be?”

no, Summer doesn’t worry about the past.

pretty girls don’t worry about much at all.

but she has a dead dandelion for me, 

and when i blow on its whisper-soft head

i don't wish for anything.

i know it doesn't work.

 

Autumn looks just like Spring

and a little like Summer

he’s scared of Winter too, but he’d never tell admit to that.

sometimes he gives me more time than he should

he knows that Winter isn’t gentle,

he knows that his sister isn’t kind.

he does the best he can to prepare the trees

but he always ends up killing the leaves

when i beg him to stay with me, among the dead

the corpses of Spring’s hard work

and Summer’s easy upkeep

Autumn tells me to bundle up

because Winter is almost home

and Winter loves it here,

with me.

 

what a shame it is to have this body

last for all four seasons

what a shame it is

that every four seasons

this body and i

start again.