Jeannine Hall Gailey
I am an avenging goddess, she said, severely.
What about that do you not understand?
I need you, he said. Even without your costumes.
I lie in the dark and think of you. Every night more.
I eat men like you for breakfast. Her right hand gripped
a sword. I’ve forgotten how to make my lips do anything but sneer.
I could make you French toast instead, he offered.
He was blond and easy on the eyes.
There is no happy ending for us. You’ve seen the stories –
in the end I’d be bent over your slain body,
miss the gunshot, the final blow. But think, he said, how sad,
all that you’re missing – the slow sunny afternoons in pajamas,
maybe a cat – or an African pygmy hedgehog – on the couch.
Trips to the grocery store. Bad movies.
Anyway, she said, I’m late. She picked up a handbag full of arrows.
Please try not to disclose my secret identity. I’ll see you later.
He pretended not to care as her shadow lengthened in the doorway.
She pretended not to notice the sudden heaviness of her sword.
The Fox-Wife's Invitation
These ears aren’t to be trusted.
The keening in the night, didn’t you hear?
Once I believed all the stories didn’t have endings,
but I realized the endings were invented, like zero,
had yet to be imagined.
The months come around again,
and we are in the same place;
full moons, cherries in bloom,
the same deer, the same frogs,
the same helpless scratching at the dirt.
You leave poems I can’t read
behind on the sheets,
I try to teach you songs made of twigs and frost.
You may be imprisoned in an underwater palace;
I’ll come riding to the rescue in disguise.
Leave the magic tricks to me and to the teakettle.
I’ve inhaled the spells of willow trees,
spat them out as blankets of white crane feathers.
Sleep easy, from behind the closet door
I’ll invent our fortunes, spin them from my own skin.
The Slayer Asks For Time Off
The Lost Limbs of Animé Girls in Space
Somehow in these futuristic worlds
we have always left an arm
and a leg behind, as if these amputations
make us seem more accessible,
a portion of our torsos beneath the torn top
visible - a glimpse of shining silver.
Our hair still charmingly tousled,
we are victims of some civil war
or village atrocity conveniently unwritten,
forgotten now, military campaigns hidden in our pasts.
Only these reminders that we might not be
entirely human – merely a ghost
caught in a metal shell. She’ll give you
an arm and a leg, they joke, while we
wake in the night to scratch phantom skin,
the joints between flesh and machine always aching,
our souls affixed in some permanent alchemy
to this heavy metal.
In Which Jack and Jill Decide Whether to Climb Yet Another Hill