Like any wife, I do what I must; the man is not my reward. Perhaps fucking him is strange, but it's all I've ever known—our bed a cavern of smoke and shadow, his cock an ember embedded in my flesh. Affection is not what he demands. Mother refuses to believe it, but I went with him willingly. He presented his terms, and I accepted. In exchange for my body, so lifelike then, a kingdom vast as earth, endless expanse of wandering shades. My gardens now are rows of flame; my mirror, a slick sheet of ice, and don't I look radiant, the only thing alive down here. The dead have become my playthings. They do whatever I command. I can stick a hand through their ribcages, finger their ghostly mist. Of course my husband hungered for solid flesh. All through the spring, I dream only of death.

Jade Hurter is the author of the chapbook Slut Songs (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2017). She was a finalist in the 2016 Tennessee Williams Poetry Contest, judged by Yusef Komunyakaa, and her work has appeared in THRUSH, The Columbia Poetry ReviewGlass,Passages NorthNew South, and elsewhere.