A Houri’s Hymnody

This story is paired with “The City of Brass” from 1001 Arabian Nights. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free. 

She baits and banters, temper turning in a cyclone of brass.
With each blow, each blast, her marrow mends to craft a bone of brass.

Stardust trapped in copper queens connects with zinc from Zion’s gate,
molten metal allied against decay in the zone of brass.

She salutes the sun in trumpet tones, a resonating cry.
Through her lips, the vibration triumphs, an overtone of brass.

Smashed ceramic skin cannot be disguised, but it can be pieced,
broken bits rejoined, renewed by a liquid thread sewn of brass.

She sits in judgment, watching the world through the lens of black pearls.
Through gold gates, past treasure chests, men weep before her throne of brass.

Stress cracks form, a fractured reaction to a toxic attack.
But cartridge cases annealed, stretch unbroken, a cone of brass.

You cannot destroy this gazelle; no moon cry will I utter.
Pure and transformed, I wear skin of blown glass and bones grown of brass.


Once upon a time, Carina Bissett wrote travel articles and books about the Southwest. These days, she spends her time crafting twisted fairy tales and cross-pollinated mythic fiction. Her short fiction and poetry can be found at the Journal of Mythic Arts, The NonBinary Review, Timeless Tales and other assorted journals and anthologies.