They are dangerously sexy
and always married to a king,
generic wealthy man or stonecutter,
living out their tumultuous lives
in the first wife's home, altered first
of course; scarlet-draped boudoirs, gothic
windows opening on to moors
where deformed trees loom.
They harm stepchildren in
enchanted forests by incising
their subcutaneous fat with blue light
turning them into swans, proffering
poisonous fruit or exposing them
to the vagaries of witches. They have a thing
for mirrors, lakes and strange headgear.
Age toughens them; keratin scales within
their nails and hair. When they die, it is
by bitter herbs, their spirit thrashing
like a hammerhead shark, never
in history going down without a fight.
*originally published in Fiona's first collection of poetry, Alchemy (Turas Press, Dublin, 2020)Altered State
Oh Father, this forest is a labyrinth
I have caught sight of the flying saints
you sent to rescue me if that is what you
need you to hear. I feel no compulsion
to compete with this ecosystem. I have never
understood the concept of ancient self.
Let me tread through the seedlings of tender
ambition. Seal off the charred remains
of childhood in syncopation with the seasons.
Your white emulsion appears as Polaris
in the vast Vantablack. All in good time
I will follow it home.
An unexpected spectacle-
all those luminescent
through the forest
creatures, other tiny
soft and unfettered
as moon jellyfish
they form fleeting
rings around bats
congregate in all
the in-between spaces
my susceptible heart surges
to their baroque rhythm
a caravan of light
wiping shadows away
they will not pass
this way again.
Bio: Fiona’s first collection of poetry, Alchemy (Turas Press, Dublin), won the Poetry Book Awards (2021) Silver Medal and was shortlisted for the Rubery Prize. Her flash fiction, Sea Change, won first prize in the Bath Flash Fiction Awards (2020). Her poetry and short fiction has been published internationally in publications such as Fevers of the Mind, Lighthouse, Skylight47, Utopia, Abyss & Apex, and Ink, Sweat & Tears. She lives near Oxford, in the UK, with her family.
“The star is large and distant/so distant that it’s small/even smaller than others/much smaller than it./ Small wonder, then if we were struck with wonder;/ as we would be if only we had the time.
For they live high in the gum trees
For they feed on delicious gumnuts
For they fall into the genus Calyptorhynchus or Zanda
For they have the look of Follie Bergère showgirls
For they caw loudly and distinctly
For they have magnificent given names such as Ngaoaraa
For they have been known to interfere with traffic cameras
For they herald the coming rain
For they accompany the dead to paradise
For they nest in tree hollows
For the eyes of the young open at three weeks
For they are made of the same stuff as us.
Bio: Fiona was born in the north of Ireland but has lived in England, Australia, and New Zealand. Her first poetry collection won the Silver Medal in the International Poetry Book Awards. Her short fiction won first prize in the Bath Flash Fiction Award 2020 and was shortlisted for the Australian Morrison Mentoring Prize in 2014 and 2015. Her poem, "Fusion", was longlisted for the Fish Publishing Prize. She won second prize in the Over The Edge Fiction Slam 2021. Her poetry has been published internationally in publications such as Lighthouse, Skylight47, The Blue Nib, and The Galway Review. She contributed poetry to the Label Lit project for National Poetry Day (Ireland) 2019.
Moses (patriarch, drawn from water) fled on a White Star Liner, steerage class. All aboard for the promised land! Dropped dead amid a heatwave scourging Chicago (City of Big Shoulders). Didn’t even leave us his surname Lennon (lover, blackbird). His absence forever signified by an em dash on a birth certificate.
Before they are born
breakers swell and loom
in rolls of blown glass
I would like to step inside,
to be statue-caught
in their crystal corridor
like an ancient body
preserved in a glacier.
I can cut the white
noise. Reboot. Prepare
for my second coming,
as foaming diamonds
released from saltwater
ectoplasm thrown on
to warm, restorative
sand. Equipped for terra
This poem by Fiona Perry was previously published in her first collection, Alchemy (Turas Press, 2021) Wolfpack Contributor: Fiona Perry