Writer in Residence · 09/21/2010

Artifact 20: Soulkeeper

Three girls. Each sold to trades. The first the youngest to the glass woman who taught her to roll it flat to roll it round to melt the edges without seams. The second the eldest to the copper woman who taught her to hammer it until it shined and gleamed. The third the troubled middle girl who fell in love with the tin woman did nothing she was taught nothing she was told. Was told to kill the tin woman. Burn the tin woman. Chop the tin woman into pieces. But would not. Infuriating. Disobedient girl. But it was she responsible for the invention of the soulkeeper. That device borne of devotion. Devised from the desire to be home. In the tin woman’s dwelling. In the arms of the tin woman. Who was old. So old. Older than earth. Than fire. But could not die by her own doing. Cursed to live forever. For the glass woman needed her. The copper woman wanted her. Alive. The middle daughter understood. She hated her sisters. Had kept this hidden all her life. Needed them alive. And still. To use her sisters’ knowledge of the properties of glass and copper to learn the secrets of their crafts. Until. After many years when she was old her sisters were old the glass woman as old as the copper woman’s old. She presented the soulkeeper. The tin woman’s consent. Slight nod. And clear liquid in the glass the youngest made and captured behind the copper lid the eldest daughter made that fit the glass and preserved beyond the tiny piece of tin the middle daughter’d hid in her right hand. The curse still in effect. The tin woman’s soul still there. But her body. Gone. And where. Who knows.

Molly Gaudry is the author of the verse novel We Take Me Apart (Mud Luscious, 2009) and the editor of Tell: An Anthology of Expository Narrative (Flatmancrooked, 2010). Her website is www.mollygaudry.com.

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posted by Amber Sparks