Gingerbread House Lit Mag

Swan Maiden

after Swan Lake

The curtain rises, clean as a guillotine
dripping velvet crimson. You, my sister,

pirouette—the false bride, the decoy. All
eyes survey your whirl like palms assessing

thigh meat. All tongues grow wet with hunger,
craving to bite breast. I sail past the owl

whose brow compresses thunder. Beat
my wings against the window wheeled

from offstage. Feathers fall like apple blossoms,
like a gutted pillow. Ballroom breath condenses

on you, heavy pulsing pearls. If I clutch this
bright tiara in my soggy webbed foot, if I pierce

this glass with diamond, we could fly from here.
Place our hands around each other’s waists, cast off

the tutus. Bow our heads and regain union:
ouroboros asp. Cut the strings and use the wooden

sets as raft and paddle—plunge the dirk,
though just a prop, into the wizard’s heart.

Catherine Kyle

Catherine Kyle is the author of Shelter in Place (Spuyten Duyvil, forthcoming), Saint: A Post-Dystopian Hagiography (dancing girl press, 2018), Parallel (Another New Calligraphy, 2017), Flotsam (Etched Press, 2015), Gamer: A Role-Playing Poem (dancing girl press, 2015), and Feral Domesticity (Robocup Press, 2014). Her writing has been honored by the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the Alexa Rose Foundation, and other organizations. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Western Michigan University and is pursuing an MFA in Poetry through New England College’s low-residency program. She teaches creative writing at the College of Western Idaho and through The Cabin, a literary nonprofit. Her website is

Artwork: Brooke Shaden

This entry was published on May 31, 2019 at 12:10 am and is filed under 36 (May 2019), Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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