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