Joan Stewart



They’re gone, like a storm in the night,

and taken you with them.


No killing hands found me.

I slip out from the hearth-broom’s shadow,

an even darker shadow,

shaping myself into long, lean black silk fur, orange eyes,

silently padding after the scent of anger and fear.

To the dark gaol.

I slip between burning iron bars.

You clutch me, your strokes crackling cold sparks across my fur.

Your eyes flick to the cell door – guard’s got the keys.

I slip through the dire iron.

I stare and he trembles in his sleep, struggles for breath, lets slip the keys from his clutch.

Though they burn I carry them to you

and we slip softly, silently out the gaol.


Flitting shadows,

through the village, back home, quick pack.

Then running breathless beneath the crystal hard stars of another cold night.

To seek a new brief refuge.

‘Til new Theys, blind-minded, hysterics,

Decide they must kill what is not like them.


Let’s find a better way to hide.

As one of their Al-Chemists

Or Artists

Or poets


And so slip through the bars of their minds.



“Slipping”  ©  Joan Stewart.  First published here in Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores, October 25, 2022
Joan Stewart is is a writer, artist, and editor, slipping through the bars as best possible.


Illustrations by Fran Eisemann

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