There are three of them.
Blind women who hold within arthritic hands
our futures. Skeins of vivid silk — your life,
my life, the lovers of friends —
spill through gnarled fingers
Catching tearing snarling.
Clotho the spinner of birth
who looks perhaps like weavers do
her thumb wide and flat from twisting thread.
Lachesis, the middle sister, measures.
She holds the short length that will be
your life, my loss, the grief
that will entangle me
for Atropos, the eldest sister.
Whose eyes are grey stones.
She reaches into deep pockets
for silver blades.
Sharper than loss, darker than memory,
snick snick snick
Deaf and blind, the sisters
spin and measure sever
the threads that tie your life to mine
and you float free of need
all that tethered you to this day, your life
my hands. I reach for you, your shadow.
The sun sets and you fade into the night.
The sisters still.
Britton Gildersleeve’s poetry has appeared previously in Nimrod, Passager, Spoon River, This Land Press, Futures Trading, Lincoln Underground, Atlas Poetica, and Florida Review, and other journals. She has three chapbooks: two from Pudding House, and one from Kattywompus Press. She blogs at https://teaandbreath.com.