Being Providence

You could nev­er have slept
in my ship­wrecked bed,
sea-sound­ing with your wife’s name
and New Eng­land no old­er in my blood
than the bliz­zard win­ter my father walked
like Bal­to over the snowdrifts
between Har­vard and Bea­con Hill
not quite three years before me,
more than forty after you.
A fish­ing float hangs in my window,
turn­ing sun­light the green of salt marshes
and ceme­tery shade.
We could only have drowned
in film-light, flick­er­ing silverily
like the ages of stars against an astronomer’s eye,
the dead past still shin­ing, lur­ing us on
into the dark nei­ther of our hands can cross.

Sonya Taaffe’s short sto­ries and poems have appeared in such venues as Beyond Bina­ry: Gen­derqueer and Sex­u­al­ly Flu­id Spec­u­la­tive Fic­tion, The Moment of Change: An Anthol­o­gy of Fem­i­nist Spec­u­la­tive Poet­ry, Here, We Cross: A Col­lec­tion of Queer and Gen­der­flu­id Poet­ry from Stone Telling, Peo­ple of the Book: A Decade of Jew­ish Sci­ence Fic­tion & Fan­ta­sy, Last Drink Bird Head, The Year’s Best Fan­ta­sy and Hor­ror, The Alche­my of Stars: Rhys­ling Award Win­ners Show­case, and The Best of Not One of Us. Her work can be found in the col­lec­tions Post­cards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Inno­cence and Expe­ri­ence (Prime Books) and A Mayse-Bikhl (Papave­ria Press). She is cur­rent­ly on the edi­to­r­i­al staff of Strange Hori­zons; she holds master’s degrees in Clas­sics from Bran­deis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object.