This story is paired with Chapter 12 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.
When the house came twirling down like a too heavy top hat,
I remembered the lessons I took as a girl, my first silver shoes,
the bar that swung too low, the lollipop kids, shuffle step. How
I towered over them in the rusty gymnasium mirror, a beanstalk,
a giantess in snug leotard and itchy tights, flap ball CHANGE, heel
SPANK heel, my eyes sad, my jaw set. I watched them tap and twirl
in costume, mindless, singing in unison, the same way they did
years later as the house snapped my ankles like beans, as the supports
crushed my brain like a pea, as the lights—as everything—went out.
Under the foundation, in the last half-instant before the stage went black,
my toes twitched in my slippers, flap ball CHANGE, heel SPANK heel,
the witch is dead.
Mary McMyne is the author of Wolf Skin (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). She has been the recipient of the Faulkner Prize for a Novel-in-Progress and the Sustainable Arts Foundation Promise Award. Her stories and poems have appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, Pedestal Magazine, Los Angeles Review, New Delta Review, Word Riot, Poetry International, Apex Magazine, and many other publications. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Rhysling Award. She teaches creative writing at Lake Superior State University, where she co-edits the journal Border Crossing.