I am a Coffin by Willow Dawn Becker

March 21, 2023

There are hearts that beat


In tangled sheets that trip and noose

Or coil around bodies,

Rabbit-fast, and faster, harder.

Unaware that their drum

Is an echo of something started

Long before—

A shadow of the emptiness to come.


But my heart beats soundless, tuneless,

A sonar glitch in my bathwater-deaf ears.

A whistle blown,

Bringing that good dog, Death, to lap me up.


My gravid hands travel the map of scars,

One last time,

My pregnant skin, wet, stretched to


The navel place pulled, popped, and deformed

To cradle the bodies that my body holds.


Tiny feet. Tiny eyes.

So small they blot the light and swallow me like



I know they need a mother still.

To splash with them in Stygian waves.

To teach them the song of fallen sparrows.

To snuggle them in earth-warmed graves.


My heart and hands slow,

Like lovers cheek-to-cheek,

Or twins so close in the womb

That they twirl, entwine, and die.


And the silence is so good and deep,

As I breathe this burning water;

The tomb broke open, the angels near.

Maybe I will see them push the stone away…


I hope they have small hands.

Fracture by Mercedes M. Yardley - Mother: Tales of Love and Terror

Fracture, by Mercedes M. Yardley

Read the full story that is on the Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot right here!

Vote for MOTHER!

Mother: Tales of Love and Terror has been included on the preliminary ballot for the 2022 Bram Stoker Awards® for Superior Achievement in an Anthology. If you are a voting member of the HWA, we would love to have you consider our anthology, as well as Mercedes M. Yardley’s story, “Fracture,” which is also on the ballot in the Short Fiction category. 

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