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Dorothy Gale

“[a] double tornado cut through Irving, Kansas In May 1879. Two decades later [….] a struggling entrepreneur named Lyman Baum who was writing a children’s book, came upon a grim detail in a newspaper account of the Irving disaster: ‘The name of one of the victims, who had been found buried face down in a mud puddle, was Dorothy Gale.’” New York Times, May 28, 2013

Double-fanged wind, you tornadoed me: Bit into the sky, swept me whirling through your revolving green gate. A small man reached out from it, gave me a gold key to enter the wind, locked on green spectacles that revealed a green shrieking city.

Twist-her, you said, flinging me into your dark spiral.

Two black fangs sunk into the sky. Black-clawed wind, black-pointed witches’ cape, twin-barbed devil ray. World-wind. The wind has courage, but no brain, lacks a heart. The storm has an eye that cannot see.

Jewel-faceted cyclone. You cut and polished me. Eyes chained to this gyrating emerald spectacle by his little key. Gale force. Fork-tongued path through the sky. Unlock me.

Sky swarming with red, blue, yellow twisters, howling from heaven or hell, rifling the flimsy pages of this world.

I survived, to follow a yellow road in red shoes to a blinding, verdant city.

Yet in that other surging universe, I was hurled face down, to stare sightless at prairie-mud–making it back to Earth, but not home.

Soon they will carry me in my new wooden house down the dirt road to a small, dark hole in the ground.


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Lorraine Schein is a New York writer. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Hotel Amerika, Mad Scientist Journal, Gigantic Worlds, and elsewhere, and recently in the anthologies Phantom Drift, Wreckage of Reason and Drawn to Marvel. Her poetry book, The Futurist’s Mistress, is available from mayapplepress.com.