Gingerbread House Lit Mag

Paint me like one of your drowned Girls

They named Jane Doe Ophelia
for the flowers they found
sewn under her skin,

autopsy rose-pungent; incision-less
and blossoming. Body turned
wilted terrarium. A disturbed ecosystem.

In life she’d been a series
of daisy chains bound together, hidden
beneath a t-shirt,

when the boy tried to pull it
over her head his bedroom filled
with displaced petals.


She was a girl, not sweet enough
for the man who found her, pulled
girl into an alley and opened her

to see what she was made of,
if the nursery rhymes were true—
it would explain the sugar,

the cinnamon lacing her bones;
she tasted of snickerdoodles,
of pecan pie

when the technician brought her
to his lips. His superiors turned a blind eye
to the tooth marks that appeared

post-mortem. The milk-marrow
pulled from cracked ivory;
the girl was staining his lips.


She wasn’t a girl at all, but a will-o-whisp,
a wendigo, a willis pulled from her river
and opened. They were mistaken,

forgot how to find the fantastic,
that it could look like a drowned girl.
That she had a name, but it was unpronounceable

to human men. She could only be cut open,
understood in thin slices under a microscope.
Understood as the victim of a Shakespearean play.

E. B.  Schnepp

E.B. Schnepp is a poet currently residing in Indiana. Their work can also be found in Up the Staircase, Ninth Letter, and Roanoke Review, among others.

Artwork: Brooke Shaden

This entry was published on June 30, 2022 at 12:10 am and is filed under 51 (June 2022), Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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