each morning she awoke as a cog
within a vast machine
around her relentless clicks
like a thousand flurried crickets

she closed her eyes and knew
the length of each stitch
exactly when to pivot the cloth
the perfect rhythm of foot on pedal

she measured each day by shirts
by how the white pile grew
the wooden seat cupped her hips
like a tree growing around a stone

it only made sense when they grafted needles
to her fingertips
when her shoes melded to the pedal
when her lips craved the taste of oil
instead of thinned coffee
when her unneeded eyes were plucked out
preserved in a tin beneath her bed
and her fingers and feet never lost rhythm

Beth Cato

Beth Cato

Beth Cato is the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER series of steampunk fantasy novels from Harper Voyager. Her short fiction is in InterGalactic Medicine Show, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Daily Science Fiction. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. Her website is BethCato.com.
Support Apex Magazine on Patreon

Apex Magazine Ko-fi

$4 funds 50 words of Apex Magazine fiction!