Annmarie McQueen – ‘Artemis’

Artemis

The woods are lethal today. Exquisite. In this winter
light they could devastate me. I came to hunt; packed

my arrows, tracked my prey, the young doe too trusting
to know better, an easy kill. One snap of my bow and

she drops. A planet out of orbit. Blood blooming
bright. The earth swells up to meet her, soft as rainfall

swallows this death dutifully, like it always does. Orion
watches and wishes he were me. The day he died, he asked:

how can you love the creatures you kill? and I told him how
a hunter’s heart is a two-pronged thing, how it justifies itself

though paradox. Finds beauty in wild places. Finds grace
in an arrow arcing through air. Finds reverence in the taking

of only what is necessary. The shattering and the
stitching. And then, the aftermath: the end of a sentence

I could not finish. The visit to a little hut by a stream where
I know she will be waiting, like she always does. Open fire

ready. Hair smelling like wood-smoke, body worn down
to a husk. Smile blooming bright, still. When I touch her,

the heat is enough to melt the years away. Here is the
shattering. And the stitching. Again and again.

To love a mortal is a devastating thing.

AnnMarie McQueen

Annmarie McQueen is a London-based writer, marketer and candle-maker with a BA degree in creative writing from Warwick University. She’s been published in numerous magazines and anthologies including Dear Damsels, Buried Letter Press and The Little Book of Fairytales released by Dancing Bear Books. You can find her full portfolio on her creative writing blog www.loreandink.com ‘Artemis’ was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (January 2021) judged by Oz Hardwick.

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