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By Mary Soon Lee

In the ashy ruins of Aldford,
Tirron found and held his Linny.

Her face pressed into his shoulder;
her gulping sobs shook him.

"I thought you burnt," she gulped.
"I thought you dead."

He shuddered hearing her voice--
the voice the demon had borrowed,

the voice he'd served,
the voice he'd knelt to.

(Better men than he had burnt
instead of kneeling:

collapsing skeletons of fire,
scorched screams.)

He shuddered, but didn't let go,
only clutched Linny tighter.

He'd rehearsed what to say,
but couldn't get the words out,

couldn't make promises,
or tell her what he'd done.

"It's all right, Tirron,"
she said, "It'll be all right."

Wordless, he held onto Linny
and tried to believe her.

* * *

Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but now lives in Pittsburgh. She has won the Elgin Award and the Rhysling Award for her poetry. A dozen of her poems may be read at

What inspires you to write and keep writing?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve derived huge pleasure from reading, but I didn’t plan to be a writer. It didn’t even occur to me as a serious possibility. Instead I studied mathematics, computer science, and aerospace. Then, after coming to America in 1990, I ended up with some spare time, and decided to write for a bit. Once I’d started, I didn’t want to stop. I would love to be able to give other people the same pleasure I’ve found in reading.