Katie Nelson

Grimhilde

One glance, and air escapes me: 
her frame of bones, flesh patted neatly over the hips
and curvature like a seedless pear. There is room to fill
her lacking heart, emptied, immobile, room to sprout 

the utmost adoration. In two black eyes, a whisper wavers
between Fairyland and five thousand rotting corpses—
she sends the command from cherry lips. And her hair, 
crimson means injustice, I call it bloodied, that spirit 

for mortal souls. We peer between glass and galaxies
knowing in our palms, we will never be robbed 
or ridiculed or disrobed, the ancient only fall to Time
and Time cannot catch Tedium. 

Darling, Majesty, perfection with her elongated 
spine and elevated chin. These are queenly qualities, 
I tell her, the things to ensure a throne, and here she stares 
through that lovely mirror to say, yes, forever, I am omnipotent. 

blooming dreams

after vowing
her love for someone on the other
bigger side, a girl shares 
my bed with the sheets split
down the middle; downton abbey 
playing like rain in our ears; 
midnight sunset; bubbling voices
sound of beer past open windowpane, 
a happy street beside us; at three a.m.
the split sheets shift into a bunk
and I’m on top, palms pressing
the pillows; holly bobs string the 
doorframe, twin berries ripening  
juice stains on the leaves; when wind
sweeps in and the forestry shakes, 
I think of green; how it festers; 
how verdigris becomes brown 
and brown is a hue of blood; 
a spinach smoothie ages 
on the nightstand; her hair grays
in the lamplight; I awake clutching
an arm I swore I wouldn’t clutch; 
there is moss in her eyes; how brief
these days are, promises overflowing,
fertile soil reaping; in the background
sybil crawley wants to marry
tom branson, but we know better; 
the grass will freeze over in 
a season, her new heart slipping 
on the ice; what’s there to do
with blooming dreams? I cannot
say I cannot care for them only
because flowers wilt; temporary
is better; if nights like these lasted, 
I might forget their thrill, the anticipation
when dying weeds bleed 
into red

Short Talk on Swimming Pools

Coral suits, tankinis, triangles of skin concealed. To my house, she kept saying, to my pool. Bubbles upon bubbles of laughter, the sun retreating from our marine fortress. I hate them all, she kept saying, don’t you hate them? Waves crashed with the force of mountains toppling. I don’t hate you, I said, but I ripped free of her water, her liquid splendor, stepping out of darkness and into the stars. We spoke, we were silent. Now I look back and realize love is only recognized in the past, buried at the bottom of oceans. That summer was the closest I ever came to drowning. 

Short Talk on Persephone

Do what Mother says. Do it gracefully, do it fervently, arms bending over the stalks of gold-leaf grain, your lips muttering to the ground. Command the soil, harvest heaps and heaps of wheat, brow devoid of sweat, mortals devouring your blessings. Continue harvesting as the earth splits open like a lightning bolt seared downwards, do not scream, do not thrash at the miracles you’ve labored through this world, through their world. Stand deadened on the everlasting field, you smell the freedom, as the chariot of a ghostly afterlife rears up and over and you are one with it, you belong. Eat the pomegranate. Forget the rest.

About the Author: Katie Nelson is the author of the short story collection, Parties All Around. Her works have been recognized / published / are forthcoming in Eucalyptus Lit, Pigeon Review, Teen Ink Magazine, and The Malu Zine. Katie is currently a high school senior in Houston, TX, with intentions of studying creative writing in college.