Poetry Showcase: Fiona Perry

Stepmothers in Fairy Tales

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. 

The Visitors

An unexpected spectacle-
all those luminescent

multitudes floating
through the forest

creatures, other tiny

fragments pulsating
between branches

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.