From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Alice is Much Farther Than She Appears

you don’t paint but still find
yourself with loaded brush,
limning a creek from memory,
a place you played as a child,
a weeping tree
beside, its limp locks
fishing in the stream that opened
wide at your feet but still
got away from you, ending
in a squint:
a deer tick, a star.

you’re pondering deeper
subjects when you see her
slink half-naked down the hallway
towards the EXIT, heart
a rabbit,
one finger waving
like a paintbrush.
she isn’t wearing her glasses.
it’s becoming a habit, the
hallway saying “Ah”, and she
walking into it,
perhaps tasting your last
kiss. she says the sign
is blurred (again,
the glasses). she claims it says
Drink Me; anything else is a trick
of the light. of course
it only seems she is getting
smaller.

you decide you are your own
best subject, and go back
to the creek, to the sun that hangs
over it. (yours has legs,
and short streams of gas
crowning a leonine head).
the earth turns a blue
cheek as your brush rips birds
from the thin skin of sky,
like the panties of girls roughly
doctored with your teeth
beside the weeping tree.

— as for her, she sleeps

in the corner where
she’s been painted,
legs splayed, apron flung up
over her head, dreaming
herself into focus, and out
of the hole she keeps
falling in.

Laura Ruby

Laura Ruby

Laura Ruby is primarily a novelist with eleven books published, including Bone Gap (HarperCollins, 2015) and Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All (HarperCollins, 2019), both National Book Award Finalists. Other works include the Edgar®-nominated children’s mystery Lily’s Ghosts, the ALA Quick Pick for teens Good Girls (2006), and the York trilogy. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared or will appear in The Florida Review, Pleiades, Beloit Fiction Journal, Poetry South, Sugar House Review, and Diode, among others, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is on the faculty of Hamline University’s Masters in Writing for Children and Young Adults Program and is an MFA candidate in poetry at Queens University. She makes her home in the Chicago area.