Giant Steps

by Jaime Lee Moyer

Tin-man found her on a back road
right where Lion said she'd be —
pinafore and blood-red Mary Janes
smudged with yellow-dust —
eating apricots from a picnic basket
and solving last week's puzzles
from the New York Times,
her eyes weary and little girl lost
yet strangely unafraid.

Tin-man couldn't remember why he'd come,
a need for company or something more,
but they walked until the sun went down
discussing Proust and quantum theory,
the world-wide shortage of magic wands
and twenty unique uses for razor-wire,
her ruby-slippers half the size
of his rusty giant steps,
her small hand warm
against his cold metal skin.

And the long tall Tin-man fell in love,
his clockwork heart beating three-four time
to the music of her voice,
and for a while, the lost look left her eyes,
learning the physics of fireflies and witches
the myth of faster than light and
explaining the mystery of rainbow ends,
ruby-slippers and rusty giant steps
following a dusty yellow road,
her small hand warm
against his cold metal skin.

But Tin-men never hold to love,
clockwork hearts slowly winding down
keys lost or delicate gears rusted shut,
a secret learned the hard way,
and all they leave are memories of
walking to Oz until the sun went down,
discussing nebulas and Aristotle,
post-modernist theory and
just how monkeys got their wings,
ruby-slippers and rusty giant steps
her small hand warm
against his cold metal skin.

Jaime's work has appeared in Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirum, Dreams and Nightmares, Lone Star Stories, Sybil's Garage, Strange Horizons, Flashquake, and a host of other publications. A sadly out of date bibliography is on her website.

Jaime's short fiction has appeared in Lone Star Stories and is forthcoming in Triangulations: End of the Rainbow. Her novels are represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency. That she won the 2009 Columbus Literary Award for fiction, given by the Columbus Arts Council and administrated by Thurber House, still stuns her. Also, she is the poetry editor for Ideomancer Speculative Fiction, and she edited the 2010 Rhysling Award Anthology.

Right now, Jaime is reading two manuscripts in draft for friends, the complete works of John Keats, a collection of Rupert Brooks poetry, and a mass of research material on WWI for the next novel. This is entirely normal.

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