Rachel Sudbeck, “A Woman in Three Parts”

Here is a woman in three parts. The Morrigan, the moirai, the goddess of fate. Past present and future in one girl. She has never been held—she can’t even hold herself.

Here is the Morrigan in the morning, bygone girls behind her eyes. A Morrigan Maiden who catches your eye, with her braids and her battles and her body pulled taut by memory. You talk about history, about birds, about your high school yearbook. She knows every second you’ve already had. You can love the war of her, the force. You can love how she holds everything in her at once.

That is how she sees you, as the beginning and end of a girl all at once.

Here is the Morrigan in the afternoon, the strength of her, present. She looks at you with eyes that are new each moment. She cries, sometimes, this warrior mother, at the current. You can love this Morrigan, who is new each second, who begs for kisses and dinners and movies and everything everyone right now. You can love this Morrigan who cuts her hair and laughs at your jokes and loves you with the ferocity of ephemeral things.

That is how she sees you, as something brief.

Here is the trick, is loving the Morrigan at night, when the future turns her eyes dark and her body to wings. Here is your wife, a girl of a crow. You must follow her shadow across the silver ground, must trace the dark of her wings, cut out against the stars. This is the rule of Morrigans, is that the future must be chased. This is the rule of stories, is that the ending only comes when your feet are bleeding and your breath is spinning the world in circles and your beloved is staring at you with scavenger’s eyes. When she is staring at you like you are something dying and delicious. Like you are something to be eaten.

That is how she sees you.

Here are the three girls in arms, dark and winged and young and old. Here is a way to love in plural, to love the girl and her history and her future at once. Here is a way to whisper a story to a goddess until her eyes turn to you with something unspeakable. Here are the bird bones and the battle scars and the resonance across form and history. Here is a kiss that has happened a thousand times. Here is a story that she doesn’t know the end of.

Here is the rule, which nobody tells you. Fate is a winged thing. A fate demands to be caught.

Rachel Sudbeck lives lives and writes from a tiny apartment in Chicago. Her current goal is to not mess up her life too much.