“A Hero’s First Task” by Alexandra Seidel

rob the winds of their words
but softly and with care
in their tempests they bear knives
and burning thunderbolts

walk as a thief among thieves
if you come to take their words
too much stealth has never killed the cat

bring daggers
but take care not to draw them
look pleasant and don’t seem too eager

and let your fingers wander
to their breezy throats
lips that purl dark with sound
and bend to greet you

greet them also but hide your heart
until you feel the zephyr’s words coil in your palm
like autumn-sick leaves

take them with you to the altar
as the prize of your quest
and rest assured
that the voiceless know no curses
that could harm the hero
you’ll become


Alexandra Seidel’s work has been published in Strange Horizons, The Red Penny Papers, Jabberwocky, and other venues, as well as Kaleidotrope. She is the poetry editor for Niteblade and Fantastique Unfettered, and the editor for the Aether Age e-zine.
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