Friday, 25 November 2022


by Tina Klimas

The queen’s reflection
has vanished.
She fears that she
is dead.  But it is worse
even than that.
A ghastly mask floats
from the mirrored depths.
Its gaping pit of a mouth
issues a decree:

From hence forth
you will be invisible.

Time to allow the young
to be beautiful and breed, 
as flowers to bees.
As it should be.
So she does.
She robes herself
in what feels like a disguise.
Elderly. Witch. 
She removes herself
from the ripe work
of the garden. Finds a hut
in a cave to sequester herself.

Because she still believes
she has things to do—
outdated recipes to brew,
unwanted tales to scribe,
irrelevant books to read—
she requires an alarm clock
for her cave-hut.
The mask reappears
in the glass, twisted
into a comic cackle,
taunting her:

This clock. This one. So easy to use
even a grandma can figure it out!

Rage subsumes her
until she believes
she could rip a heart out
with her bare hands,
encase it in a bejeweled box.
Yet, how
to find a beating heart
in a snickering bodiless
ghoul? Who has seeped
into all places. Who
can persuade everyone
that everyone believes a thing
until everyone does.
She will make it flesh,
then tear it apart.

A huntsman awaits,
a youth who desires
to be emboldened.
But, he seizes her arsenal
for himself—her strength,
her experience.
She must surrender all of it.
Even her intellect.
Even her wisdom.
Rage spits her out, then
and leaves her—
a tired old woman
whose clock has ceased.

And that liar’s heart
will keep beating.

* * * * *

Tina Klimas's poems can be found in THEMA Literary Journal, Bear River Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Backchannels, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Willows Wept Review, and Glassworks Magazine. Her short fiction has also been published in several journals. She enjoys her writing life in Redford, MI where she lives with her husband and their dog.  

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