a journal of fantastical poetry


by Hal Y. Zhang

the clock chimes six and
you transform into a different person.
a cruel stepmother, twisting thorns of
words you will not remember
in the morning.

your shoes, you've left them on the
veranda: a careless jumble. that's
how I first knew you were not well,
for how can you forget your slippers?
the eighth square that took you
from pawn to queen. but
the game is at an end,
and the pieces must return
to the earthen box.

your dress, when you rent
your swan tulle asunder in an
imagined skirmish with sorcerers
I cried too. remember when I stood
in the white circle, aged six,
sticky handprints on the mirror
you pirouetted me round and round
and promised I would be your
prima ballerina ever after.

and your carriage. once the envy of every
girl, their faces pumpkin-red with jealousy
at your grand jeté développé, dove-light,
arm aloft grazing clouds. now your
shoulders slumber, wings
snared in a cursed circlet
and there is no enchantress
on our side. only shattered glass,
bare bones. nettle and
long shadow.
dusk velvet falls over your
raked stage; I take my curtain
call, no exit. ribbon lights
unravel. we have only time now.
at midnight I will bury your weary
heart brain feet
under your mother's hazel tree,
cinders to cinders to cinders.

May 15th, 2019

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