by Sonya Taaffe
Godfather Drosselmeyer, are you Death screwing tight your doctor's glass to scry who sits at my bedfoot, who stands by my head, the pale bloodied girl in a willful fever dream or the slipper-hurling queen of Marzipanschloß? You were the first to teach me with your owl's midnight glare the price of love that leaves a hero crack-jawed and bandaged, waiting to be disenchanted from the sticky promises of saved princesses and boys who play soldier with a stick horse and a sword. Yours were never the dances of polka and grandfather. Better than comfort, you brought me the truth of a tale. Godfather, send away the court astronomer, the physician who frowns and pats my unscarred hand — ich kann die allerherrlichsten wunderbarsten Dinge schon erblicken. The winter firs are pressing through the wainscoting, the candle crackles of almonds and citrus and snow. The face I love shines under its painted scowl like the sweet of a nut within its scraping hull.
Sonya Taaffe's short fiction and poetry can be found in the collections Postcards from the Province of Hyphens (Prime Books), Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books), and A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press), and in anthologies including Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, and The Best of Not One of Us. She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons; she holds master's degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object. She lives in Somerville with her husband and their potential cat.
Since her grandfather's watch broke, she commonly tells the time by looking at her cellphone like the rest of this globe, but she wears a tenth-century Benedictine sundial ring on her right hand and she knows how to use it.
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