Issue No. 18, Autumn 2016

Katharyn Howd Machan

Who built the bridge? The hard stone bridge?
The dream of the lion and his harsh thick tongue.
Who forced the boots that crossed it to shudder?
The man with a nose like a sharp crooked moon.

The castles are crying. Who slammed their doors?
Look to the blue that dissolves into black.
Where is the sand of gold I’ve been promised?
Watch out! Silver knives wait to cut off your toes.

The princess. The princes—no matter how spoiled?
The lion has named them. Starlita shines most.
How can smooth water change a safe world?
A fist grabs a girl and hurls her in deep.

Where do I find her? What dangerous call?
Thistle of gold. You’ll touch the blood.
But what of my own pain must I live?
Searcher. Reader. Poet. Forgive.

For three and a half decades Katharyn Howd Machan, picking up where Rod Serling left off, has taught creative writing at Ithaca College in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Her specialty courses, besides in poetry, are Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, Women and Fairy Tales, and first-year seminars called Fairy Tales: The Hero’s Journey. Her poems have appeared in 32 published collections (most recently WILD GRAPES: POEMS OF FOX [a kitsune shape-shifter]) and many magazines, anthologies, and textbooks.