Kathryn Stripling Byer



Dark sister

I dread

like a trap

door, outsider


all good breeding

and common

sense, she knows

I listen: her satin

thighs slide

over horsehair as she

sidles closer.

Her scent?

The scorch after

lightning strikes.


Who else would dare

twit the Old Man

when he thunders Let

There be Light? Nothing

doing, she teases

him. She’s been

around. She knows

what’s coming. “Star-

dust,” she whistles

as she files

her crimson nails,

making me wait

for the entrance

she wants, loving stealth

and the winding

way down

the dark stair

well on tip toe.