On My Chest by Madalena Daleziou (Lucent Dreaming Issue 9)

Some nights an imp
sits cross-legged on my chest
he never said his name
nor that I’ll get a son back
if I guess it by the third day
(I wanted no son in the first place)
he only said his name starts with an “a”

(anxiety attack
arrhythmia
anonymity)

and he grinned and he laughed
pale and bloodless
against the velvet dark
a playful imp
who has never heard of
mindfulness and meditation
and yet knows exactly
how many breaths to take
when a candle flame dances

Some nights an old woman
reposes on my chest
like a millstone
wearing a crease of worry
on her forehead
a mother’s diadem
she never said her name only
that she has granddaughters
named after her and that
her name starts with a “d”

(dread
death
dyspnea)

and she cried and she wailed
red and wrinkled
against the coming dawn
because it wasn’t coming for her
who has gravestones for children
and in men’s eyes she’s nothing but
a village witch, an apple-poisoner,
and yet she never needed to count
how many breaths to take each minute
or to know she has such things as lungs

Buy issue 9 today.
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram
Madalena Daleziou is a Greek writer, researcher and content creator living in Glasgow where she studied a Master’s in Fantasy Literature. Her work has previously appeared in From Glasgow to Saturn. In 2020 she was a finalist in the Welter 55 micro-fiction contest. She is currently editing her novel, sustained by caffeine and sad playlists. She can most often be found in a bookstore or behind a keyboard, scribbling stories with too many ghosts.
@LBooklott | @ladyofbooklot

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