Walk After the End

A crab follows me home / and I wait for death.

A crab follows me home
and I wait for death.
Three days ago, I discovered
what it was like to be halved,
my wet insides growing a false skin
against the warm wind, like leftover anything.
I travel halved, one-clawed
and greet younger versions of myself—
they don’t wear shoes, not even slippers,
their curly hair reddish, in fact, under the sun.
I say to them, write your name at the bottom
of your heart: Property of
stone, a wordless garden, pebbles flattening
sweet-smelling grass, a bald-faced moon.
They offer to clean the bits of my blood
that have speckled the ground and stick
to the trees and their black faces.
When the wind blows, I say, no matter—
I am growing a new body,
not searching for my other half, latent, wild.
I say I discovered what it was like to have
an ocean inside of me, permanent gales,
I know why I grow out instead of down
clasping another’s hand, a hand I do not own.
They think I have given them fear, but I have
given them shade. I slink away into the sun,
grow new teeth, a new sole on my foot.
a red shell.

About the author

Terese Mason Pierre (she/her) is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in The Walrus, ROOM, Brick, Quill & Quire, Uncanny, and Fantasy Magazine, among others. Her work has been nominated for the bpNichol Chapbook Award, Best of the Net, the Aurora Award, and the Ignyte Award. She is one of ten winners of the Writers’ Trust Journey Prize, and was named a Writers’ Trust Rising Star. Terese is the co-Editor-in-Chief of Augur Magazine, a Canadian speculative literature journal, and co-Director of AugurCon, Augur's biennial speculative literature conference. She is the author of chapbooks Surface Area (Anstruther Press, 2019) and Manifest (Gap Riot Press, 2020). Terese lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.