April 3, 2022

Tsunami Came in Sparkling Midnight, By Dyani Sabin

 


They always talk about the shoes,

not the electric slick slide of soles on glass,

or the ice that shook me on the stairs—

what use are slippers against tempests?

 

Those things I couldn’t reuse, I left

scattered like lentils on a dress of ash.

Hurricane in a pumpkin, we dressed my

carriage with my skirts as a sail.

 

Mice are better than rats, nimble rescuers,

enough fairy magic left to bless passing squash,

disemboweled into a fleet of floating gourds

escaping on the tide as the moat rose, waves crashed.

 

As the clock struck midnight I looked up in fear,

not of losing wishes or princely kisses, but at clouds

leaving blood in their tracks. I ran, prince with one shoe went

for help, but now we float tethered to branches of hazel and willow.

 

When the waters subsided, we cleaned together, hands

clasped, my limping, blind sisters grateful to learn to survive.

I wept in the muck and turtle doves carried us seeds. My love

first kissed me in that field, sparkling shoe embracing life as a trowel.

 

The story doesn’t mention that the former prince sold a marvelous

slipper to feed our people through winter. Or that our wedding

happened amidst the rubble, my dress of sailcloth, his suit of rags,

attended by survivors, busy rebuilding a city and not a castle.


Dyani Sabin is an author of speculative fiction, poetry, and science journalism. Her work has been published in Strange Horizons, as well as National Geographic, The Washington Post, and Popular Science. You can find her haunting a cornfield, chasing ghosts on the endangered species list, or on Twitter @DyaniSabin.
 
Cover: Amanda Bergloff

Twitter @AmandaBergloff

Instagram: amandabergloff 

7 comments:

Kelly Jarvis said...

A haunting variation on the Cinderella story <3

Deborah Sage said...

Exquisite incorporation of so many Cinderella elements. Wonderfully done!

Katie Jordan said...

Love this twist on Cinderella. Very unique!

Sarah Garcia said...

Love your take on Cinderella! Especially love these verses here:
"As the clock struck midnight I looked up in fear,
not of losing wishes or princely kisses, but at clouds
leaving blood in their tracks."
Great job, Dyani!

Dyani said...

Thank you so much!

Dyani said...

Thank you! I tried to include and re-imagine as many of the original story elements as I could. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

Dyani said...

Thank you so much!

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