by C.S.E. Cooneyfor Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman
my friend Fox Woman tucks up her tail, puts on eyeliner goes Blues dancing at a local dive she's a natural redhead, a natural dancer and sometimes her tail comes uncurled to feel up the ass of the follow behind her as she's licking the neck of her lead if you take Fox Woman for your bride you should know the lipstick on your collar has a price, know she'll leave bruise marks with her sharp, sharp teeth know you've married a thief and if you don't love her for her lies she will leave, slink off into the mesquite yellow-eyed kits in a row my friend Dove Girl wanted it all: white wedding honeymoon on an island drinks with umbrellas, cooing over diamonds scuba-diving with dolphins, doughnuts for breakfast, a lace negligee all very tasteful she is plump-breasted, preening very reassuring, and she loves me, and she wants me to be happy, telling me "when he's the right one honey, you'll know. You'll give yourself to him, feathers and all – you won't need wings where you're going." Crane Wife and Swan Wife disagree with Dove Girl then again – they had their feather coats stolen spun into silk, into sickness, despair until they filched themselves back for themselves sewed their souls together and ran off to be married in Manhattan just as soon as it was legal they too have advice, most of it conflicting: "never trust a man with nice handwriting," says Crane "it's better with a woman," says Swan "except if she's an emotional refrigerator" and they gaze at each other, soft-eyed me, I'm not looking to be married not to man, not to woman I don't want a werewolf or a banker or a Bedouin I'm just looking at you, the way you walk past me every damned day, how you smile say my name, say, "Ahoy!" like those sailors I knew back in my sea days (drowned now) and all I want to do, you know, all I desire is to leave my sealskin somewhere you'll step on it, where you'll stoop down and stroke it as I die slowly from a distance, as that link forms warm, familiar like fingers around my ankle "what's this?" you'll say, and you'll pick up my skin and you'll open your shirt and you'll fold it away... and then you'll have to keep me.
C.S.E. Cooney lives and writes across the street from a Victorian Strolling Park. She is the author of How To Flirt in Faerieland and Other Wild Rhymes and Jack o’ the Hills, both available on Amazon. Her most recent novellas, Martyr's Gem and How the Milkmaid Struck a Bargain with the Crooked One may be found online at GigaNotoSaurus. "Witch, Beast, Saint" the first of her erotic fairytales from The Witch's Garden Series will be appearing in Strange Horizons in late July 2014. With her fellow artists in the Banjo Apocalypse Crinoline Troubadours, Cooney appears at conventions and other venues, dramatizing excerpts from her fiction, singing songs, and performing such story-poems as "The Sea King's Second Bride," for which she won the Rhysling Award in 2011.
When asked what one poem she would choose to make tangible and in what way, she replied as follows: "Some poems are already so nearly tangible, so sensual, they would require very little to manifest as actual objects. Yehuda Amichai's 'A Pity. We Were Such a Good Invention' is only a propeller and a pair of wings away from flight."
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