13:1: “In Conclusion”, by Sonya Taaffe

13:1: “In Conclusion”, by Sonya Taaffe

In conclusion, Death is waiting
with her skin the color of a dotted line
and your signature faded on her palm
unfolding, like a magician’s with a trick,
to show your choice of nothings left.
With her other hand, she takes a pen
and signs you, a long wave ebbing
crimson as an emptied heart.
She is the last word; there is no arguing
with the hole she let you write yourself into.

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, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, and The Best of Not One of Us. Collected work can be found in Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books) and A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press). She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons; she holds master’s degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object. She says:

Alex Dally MacFarlane was speaking of conclusions. This poem happened.


Photograph of Stipula fountain pen (titled “Power of Words”) by Antonio Litterio, is provided under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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