Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz at Closing Time

This story is paired with Chapter 19 of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free. 


“I want a smaller heart,”
Dorothy asked the Wizard,
sitting in a bar called the Emerald City at last call on a Saturday night.

“Still beat up over that whole Wicked Witch thing, huh?”
The Wizard said from behind the bar,
pouring her a finger of gin and cleaning out a glass.

“The Cowardly Lion had it right,”
she mumbled into her gin,
“courage is… too much trouble.”

The neon burned into her skin
and made her eyes look like a fishes:
dead, cold, too shiny.
Outside, the moon burned on a road
that used to be yellow but had tarnished
from too many people walking it,
and who knew roads could get as tired of taking people places
as people could get having to follow, follow, follow?

“You don’t think we should fight for things?”

Dorothy put a coin in the jukebox
which started leaking Tom Petty all over

the worn bar floor, and she said as she walked
too-carefully-to-be-sober back to her stool,

“The Tinman was an idiot.”
She whined,
“I want a smaller heart…”

Her blue checked dress was 5 years too faded
and 3 inches too short for cable TV and she
was too tired to care about whether she found herself home the next morning.
The ruby slippers, having lost their shine, pinched her feet.

‘What’s the point if you can’t feel things?”

“I’ve felt everything,’
she snapped,
“I’ve been everywhere,
I’ve seen everything,
and I can’t go back home!”

“Why?”
“Because I’ve felt everything!”
She slurred, tossing a pigtail over her shoulder,
“And the Scarecrow won’t call me back….”

“…wanna talk about the Witch?”

“No.”

“Why not?” The Wizard locked up and shut off the lights,

leaving Dorothy alone in the dark.

“Killing things isn’t hard…” she said, to let the space know,
“it’s hurting things…”

The bar was silent with agreement.


NBR3-PolzerphotooriginalMadeline Polzer is an aspiring writer, previously published poet, and student currently living in the Midwest.