We have been in the ground where all the dead lie but Kay is not there—
From The Snow Queen—Hans Christian Andersen


She floats now among the little torches
sipping on sour sloe gin

that sets her teeth on edge—
in this forest of lasers and hanging lights,

in this party that doesn’t exist—
She thought she would find him

but she seems to have lost herself
in the sheets and mirrors and slides

inside this warehouse in Queens
Don’t you see the Drums— slurs Tiger Lily—

There are only two notes, turn turn
But she only hears one—

And all the flowers rave that he is still here
as the sweat leaks off their petals.

But she knows better—
He was too far gone—

I can see myself. I can see myself,
said the Narcissus. How sweet is my perfume!

And it is strong like dead maidens
And the smoke curls around and around this pyre.

She knows she is wasting her time
but it is difficult to conjure

a thought. The music is loud. Her
feet are wounded. And she feels

her pupils spilling onto a white dress
she should have never worn.


Victoria Nordlund is an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. Her poetry collection Binge Watching Winter on Mute was published by Main Street Rag in June 2019. She is a 2018 Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize Nominee, whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK Magazine, Rust+Moth, Gone Lawn, Pidgeonholes, Drunk Monkeys, and elsewhere. Visit her at VictoriaNordlund.com

Banner image: Roozbeh Rokni via Flickr Creative Commons