I’ve always felt like a queen of winter.
A mother of dragons. A warrior astride
a polar bear, a carriage drawn by swans,
arctic foxes. I’ve been afraid of the sun,
it’s true. Too much for me, it’s heat and light
leave welts, leave my brain inflamed, confused
about what time travel I’ve been doing,
which costume to wear. Which code I should be
swapping. And now, the summer brings more:
fire, higher temperatures, I retreat
into mountains, ice castles created just for me,
vodka served in ice shot glasses, beds carved
into the walls. Even this is not enough.
Soon I will be gone, long dead fossils
emerge from under glaciers, shipping routes
freed, oceans growing more jellyfish.
I’m boring you. Let’s all sleep with the fishes,
then, let our skies grow white hot,
our little earth tip and turn, on its way to burn.
Jeannine Hall Gailey
Jeannine Hall Gailey served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She’s the author of five books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, and Field Guide to the End of the World, which won the Moon City Press Book Prize and the SFPA’s Elgin Award. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Notre Dame Review and Prairie Schooner. Her web site is www.webbish6.com.
Artwork: Sarah Ann Loreth