The Sweet Sleep of Roses or, After the Fall


This selection is paired with Chapter 1 of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Get NonBinary Review #15 at Zoetic Press. 


There are rats in the roses;
I know this is true.
I feed them feathers and pearls
and, in return, they keep us safe
from the more dangerous pests,
eager to blacken our bounty.

I’ve sugared the soil
where the brambles bowed
around the rambling castle,
stains scoured, walls tumbled
under the weight of words—
melodious, Pegasus, digitalis.

Oh, sweet sister, you should see
what I’ve seen blinded by thorns;
smell the sweet sin hidden,
bound in a pentagram of petals;
taste the devilish seeds buried
deep inside the ripened fruit.

I turned back time, the thirteenth hour
wound down counterclockwise
past rotting hearts and golden coins,
poisonous passions and thorny crowns,
until the paths were closed forever
to anyone who wasn’t you and me

and you will sleep safely forever
in our moon-kissed tower
guarded by dragon teeth sharpened
and wandering eyes plucked,
planted among the twisting roots
of blackberries ripened to rot.


Carina Bissett is a writer, poet, and educator working primarily in the fields of speculative fiction and interstitial art. Her short fiction and poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies including the Journal of Mythic Arts, Mythic Delirium, NonBinary Review, Timeless Tales, and The Horror ‘Zine. Her work has been nominated for several awards and she was the recipient of the 2016 HWA Scholarship. For links to stories and poems, stop by http://carinabissett.com.

Constance Blackwood (a lipogram)


This selection is paired with Chapter 1 of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Get NonBinary Review #15 at Zoetic Press. 


Town talk stabs-
not wed
no lace on neck
doesn’t’ know code
wakes late
cooks at noon
lacks knack to stand alone
not sane.


Jan Chronister lives and writes in the woods near Maple, Wisconsin. She wishes she had a garden close to her kitchen like Constance and neighbors who leave her eggs. She currently serves as president of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.

sunset


This selection is paired with Chapter 1 of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Get NonBinary Review #15 at Zoetic Press. 


each morning,
before we uncover my peepholes and
shrink from the yawning void
waiting beneath the impossible streets

before we push oak legs through
phantom dust tracks to their canonized
configurations and reset our
twin-acted stage of brain matter gray

before we hear, warbling through the
plaster, a million miniature devils
singing my hapless name into
rebirth as a unworldly beast

i pray that i might roll my
decaying marbles toward the
holiday china and spy a speck of
sugar i did not request

so that before i might scrub a
papery spider from the flatware, i
may seize back and finally
go to sleep.


Deb Jannerson is the author of Rabbit Rabbit (Finishing Line Press, 2016) and the winner of the 2017 So to Speak Nonfiction Award. Her work has been featured in six anthologies and more than twenty magazines. She lives in New Orleans with her wife and pets. Learn more at debjannerson.com.