Demeter’s Daughter by Gretchen Tessmer

Gretchen Tessmer is a writer/attorney based in the U.S./Canadian borderlands of Northern New York. She writes both poetry and short fiction, with work appearing in Nature, Strange Horizons and Daily Science Fiction, among other venues. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr.

in poorly designed seasons
I stand in smoldering fields, fidgeting
with fingers dug deep
in the skirt of my linen dress
while a calico cat entwines
her steps between my feet

we see hell crawl out of
holes in the sky
as tongues of fire fall quickly
to lick the fissures of
this parched and blistered landscape

my mother's words ring in my head:
"don't be idle, don't stop fighting
until you're dead
and even then…"

so I consult the roots of hemlock trees
and the reflection of moon glow on glass

with ambitious hands, I sew
daisy petals on blackened dogwood branches
until they stick
then reaching up, I fold
back the clandestine edges of that
cinder-soot horizon, to expose

clean, white-speckled pigeons
perched in high, blue rafters that
the cat instinctively raises her paws at
before settling down to observe
greener surroundings