The Oz Cinquains

This story is paired with Chapter 1 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. 

The Wicked Witch Of The East
It was
a flying house.
What was this sorcery?
I was so startled, I forgot
to move.

The Third Pink Munchkin In The Nest
Wake up?
I was dreaming
of red sugar blossoms with white
cream—what could be as important
as that?

Pee. Bark.
Bucket that walks.
Sack of straw talks to you.
Old Fang-Face here, but green and black.
Not home.

Almira Gulch
I’m dry
as Kansas dust.
I frighten the children.
That gives me some small power, which
I use.

Aunt Em
We had
no children, but
we raised her as our own.
She was so sweet and dutiful
when young.

Dorothy Gale
My dreams
are like a sky
I wait to lift into
and beyond. Hawks don’t dare to soar
so high.

Professor Marvel
That girl
so long ago…
So poor, I sent her home.
So full of dreams waiting to be

Uncle Henry
You are
just waiting to
blossom. We are so old.
I feel like we will drop you and
you’ll crack.

The Cowardly Lion
My roar,
that thunders in
these woods, is empty noise.
I scavenge at night, angry and

The Scarecrow
Sweet child.
How can I help?
The Emerald City
is far, and the strong wind plucks at
my straw.

The Tin Man
Love is
such excrement.
She clicked her heels, and left.
I stomp and rattle down these halls

Glinda, The Good Witch Of The North
at those red shoes
blossoming from under
the house, I held a strange, brief flame:

Locasta, The Good Witch Of The North
I watched
a salamander
burst into a dragon
while my sister stole my title
and smiled.

The Wicked Witch Of The West
What a
world, what a world…
I turn into a sea,
stormless and barren, powerless
and calm.

A Flying Monkey
This high
makes life look small.
To tear into ripe fruit –
juices clot in your fur, and life
is here.

The Captain Of The Winkie Guards
We served
the bitch so long
that cut loose, we were lost
briefly. Somebody always needs
a blade.

The Wizard Of Oz
With great
power comes great
risk. Stripped of illusions,
I had to bluster my way out
of town.

Dorothy Altenbaum
I’m old.
My grandchildren
think I’m telling stories
when I speak of the lost colors
of Oz.


JB Mulligan has had poems and stories in several hundred magazines over the past 35 years, has had two chapbooks published: The Stations of the Cross and This Way To The Egress, and an e-book, The City Of Now And Then. He has appeared in several anthologies, including Inside/Out: A Gathering Of Poets; The Irreal Reader (Cafe Irreal); and multiple volumes of Reflections on a Blue Planet.