With a torn t-shirt, sneakers and blood under my nails. With a short haircut and an affinity for cars or nature. Maybe I play guitar, or wear a whistle. I know how to make noise. I know not to go with my boyfriend to the cabin after dark. I’m always an orphan. I’m the brunette, not the doomed blonde. I’m the one left to tell the story. I’ve learned the ways of chainsaw and axe and long blade. I don’t drink or smoke or wear too much eyeliner. You know by the end I’ll be wearing something unlikely, like rollerskates or a white nightgown, with no one left to save me. I’ll trust my instincts and learn the trick to killing the killer, the secret to seeing, finally, his scarred face clearly. The secret to survival is never closing your eyes.
In the Movie of My Life
I’m a mutant girl growing up in an atomic playground, playing tag with the children of nuclear physicists.
I talk to foxes in a magical, toxic forest. As I grows older, I learns to hide myself
from malevolent thorns, radioactive waste, all the dangers until boy meets girl. There is a love story. I flee the castle
to start my own glass kingdom by the sea. Years of marriage don’t damage our DNA.
He learns to cook gluten-free blueberry crumb cake. I dream of turning into swans, dragons, into ravens and hummingbirds.
In my dreams I always have wings. I become a poet. The end, of course, is appropriately tragic. I end up pale
somewhere by the ocean, whispering goodbye. He mourns my loss by playing eighties alternative music
against a montage of photographs of us laughing together. He plants fields of mutated flowers in my memory.
-- Jeannine Hall Gailey served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She is 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, winner of the Moon City Press Book Prize. 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, The Iowa Review and Prairie Schooner. Her web site is www.webbish6.com. Twitter handle: @webbish6.