by Sonya Taaffe

for Mike Allen

The Devil likes his blue-eyed boys
as much as Death, as much as night
loves redshift and the stars falling away
into the thinnest hells of their own making,
webs of creation dragging themselves apart.
He likes the jolt of the wrist,
the pulse-flicker that dilates the eye
a fragment too late to catch the sleight-of-hand,
the tremble of the card drawn from the deck
whose faces are changing
like the folding of light into time.
It is not later than you think,
it is as late as you fear
in the empty, rustling hours
when all your choices fan out before you like a magician's sleeve,
promising nothing you cannot see
except the truth,
smiling in the details.

Sonya Taaffe's short stories and poems have appeared in such venues as Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, Here, We Cross: A Collection of Queer and Genderfluid Poetry from Stone Telling, People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, Last Drink Bird Head, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, and The Best of Not One of Us. Her work can be found in the collections Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books) and A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press). She is currently on the editorial staff of Strange Horizons; she holds master's degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object.

When asked about her favorite film to feature poetry, she replied: "That . . . is an interesting question to answer, because almost any film with a poem in it could be fair game: Derek Jarman's Wittgenstein (1993), containing both Wittgenstein's epigrammatic philosophy and a doggerel satire recited against him, Powell and Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale (1944), which opens with Chaucer's prologue and then continues in rhyming couplets into the contemporary world, Anthony Asquith's The Browning Version (1951), with six lines of classical Greek tragedy at its heart, but I'm afraid I am going to fall back on Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin, 1987), because of the old poet of the city whom the angel who does not fall always keeps an eye on, whose thoughts are always telling the story of Odysseus, of Berlin, of his childhood, of storytelling itself. Erzähle, Muse, vom Erzähler, dem an den Weltrand verschlagenen kindlichen Uralten und mache an ihn kenntlich den Jedermann.”

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