In the Day After the World Stopped Being1 min read

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Bleached sky drapes over charred branches—
her bare feet cut imprints in the ash layers.
Echoes double back on each other until
there’s only silence.

She sorts through debris—
chains of coal, frail blackened bones, slivers of teeth—
always on the hunt for the lost pieces, the path.

She’s got a hole in her cheek where the last kiss rested.
A gap in her hair where the wind once teased.
Pried open ribs where hunger was known to dwell.
(food, affection, anger, longing—all hungers, all valid)

When the skies screamed, broke, toppled—
she was in her garden, sewing herbs into bird stomachs
to send messages to her lover under the Hill.

The air burned and the earth shattered
like a tea saucer on a tiled floor.
All the birds snuffed out—a puff of feathers, cracked apart songs—
and her neighbors drifted up in clouds of dust.
(except her)

Even the Hill—timeless, ethereal, serene—
is lost somewhere in the rubble of the old woods
and tattered myths unwoven in the dust.

She doesn’t believe her lover is vapor
because one chickadee hopped wingless into her palm
and spat out a string of fractured words:

So she hunts in the places the Hill has been,
where the airless sky twined ‘round bone trees
and tiny alien flowers grow from blistered soil.

She sent the chickadee back,
unable to follow birds herself,
(that’s not her magic)
with the words on strands of her hair:

Merc Fenn Wolfmoor

Merc Fenn Wolfmoor

Merc Fenn Wolfmoor is a queer non-binary writer who lives in Minnesota with two adorable cats (Tater Tot photos frequently grace all Merc’s social media). Merc is a Nebula Awards finalist, and their stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Fireside, Apex, Uncanny, Nightmare, Escape Pod, and several Year’s Best anthologies. You can find Merc on Twitter @Merc_Wolfmoor or their website Their debut short story collection, So You Want to Be a Robot, was published by Lethe Press (2017) and they have a second short story collection forthcoming in late 2021.

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