i. Over tea,
I tell him
I was queer all along.
And he says it is not true.
He tells me fairytales are not real.
In a way, I understand –
I do not have the look about me.
The planets took no notice of my birth.
The ridge of my back is ordinary canvas,
and I do not summon rainclouds when I sing.
But my queerness is undoubted –
when she kisses me,
my skin breaks out in stars.
I am a slow learner, but I still know the charm
for sewing myself a new face, a better name.
Best of all, months of practice
have made my hands peculiar –
my favourite trick, when I reach
into long-empty pantries,
is to find one last bag of tea.
ii. Of my ilk, I am sometimes the youngest,
so I have not yet met a sphinx,
and all my spells resemble hairpins.
But there are common secrets with my kind –
we always notch the corners of our doors.
We are sure to keep
at least one wolf
asleep beneath the fireplace.
There was a time
when strange blood was thought profane,
and many of us died.
So in springtime,
we gather in caves and hallways,
to remember them,
and remember us,
And we melt into each other.
We become strange lights in the night,
horned and glittering things
all smeared with many magics
so that we may not err in whom we love.
iii. In the morning,
once I have tidied the garden of crows,
I shall share the last teabag
with her, my kaleidoscope woman.
Of us all, she is best at tasseography.
She takes a cup
and reads the morning news to me,
while the kettle sings Aïda
and rainclouds roll across the ceiling.
Aurea Kochanowski was born the only girl among thirteen grandsons, based in Australia with Polish-Rroma heritage and a taste for spoken and written stories. They have work featured in Piltdown Review, Kaleidotrope, and Not One of Us magazines. They are queer, will definitely go into that museum over there, and have an unfathomed enthusiasm for chickens. You can find them on Twitter at @AureaGaily.