From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

How to Find Yourself Again

decide, in the ignorant way of children

that now’s the time to grow up

fold away your dreams

along with your wings

be good

whatever that means

earn certificates of achievement that

slice papercuts into your fingertips

wounds that sting

but never bleed


tell yourself that all that magic stuff

the talking cats and those furry monsters

that lived deep in the woods

were all part of your

overactive imagination


resolve to be lovable

the way you choose to be fashionable

clothe yourself in Name Brands

and smile a lot


the papercuts

still hurt


after decades of the charade

realize, in the wise way of children

that being fake is stupid


ask the cat at the antique store for help

follow them to find a weathered

pair of wings buried in an old steamer trunk

buy them

don’t even wait to smooth out the wrinkles


decide to fly


scream as you soar high enough

to taste stars

sweet and bitter and cold

and glorious


the old cuts still sting

but that’s okay

your shoulder hurts, too

your knees pop

your teeth aren’t all real but

your grin is


fly through midnight woods

where the monsters still wait

cry as they welcome you home

their dagger-long claws


upon your back

Beth Cato

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She’s the Nebula Award-nominated author of the Clockwork Dagger duology and the Blood of Earth trilogy from Harper Voyager. Her short stories can be found in publications ranging from Beneath Ceaseless Skies to Uncanny Magazine. In 2019, she won the Rhysling Award for short speculative poetry.

Beth shares her household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and three feline overlords. Her website includes not only a vast bibliography, but a treasure trove of recipes for delectable goodies. Find her on Twitter as @BethCato.