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Tam Lin and the Art of Fidelity

Posted by Wild Musette editor on

Tam Lin and the Art of Fidelity

by Shannon Connor Winward


Love is not a token to be won or taken

It asks no leave of you

Love tucks up its skirts, strides in like a girl

to an enchanted forest

Love plucks out your heart like a forbidden rose—

this is what comes easy


It is the ever-after that requires effort

the way it changes you

swells the belly of doubt, demands answers

in the court of reason

where there is only faith that the one you love

will still be true


though the beast may thrash

and bare its teeth, or scorn your touch

like red-hot iron

It demands strength to hold on, stubbornness

and wisdom—to let go, let burn

the fire of folly, let it consume love


to ash, let it plummet, leave it

to the well, its cleansing waters

It is a choice, to take

this creature born back to you

when the first blush spell has fallen from the eyes

It is harder, by far, to stay


to cover its weakness, its nakedness

its humanness with love's mantle

and claim it, unenchanted, as your forever own




Shannon Connor Winward is the author of the Elgin Award  winning chapbook Undoing Winter and winner of the Delaware Division of the Arts' 2018 Individual Artist Fellowship in Fiction. Her work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, Lunch Ticket, The Pedestal Magazine, Cider Press Review, The Monarch Review, Qu, Literary Mama, and Wild Musette Journal, among others. In between writing, parenting, and other madness, Shannon is also a poetry editor for Devilfish Review and founding editor of Riddled with Arrows literary journal.


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