because “lost girls” took power from us
but “lost boys” we could say with pride.
because we crouched in the shadows,
imagined food, shared vision, and ate
dripping mangoes to the fill.
because we skedaddled past the murals,
crept by automatic lights as if they were
the eyes of giants,
& the instant the lights clicked awake
we’d take off flying through church halls
as our bridge of shadows suddenly
gave way. we kept happy thoughts
just in case we’d fall.
because we howled at the moon,
fenced with pool noodles,
fought the coming growing-up
with all our happy thoughts
& singing & pranks & rowdiness.
because i built my life on forts and swings
& a playground empire
& a crumbling neverland
& eventually you, too,
told me to grow up.
because everyone else was a teenager
and i, the eldest, still didn’t get what good
this dark passage could possibly offer.
because my happy thoughts are tainted
& i miss when you believed
but dare i say it, i’m happy still.
look at your bodies
you tell me. Breasts so obviously
meant for spilt milk, to cradle
a teething child close. I forget
I am no longer flat-chested, straight
like the cover of a book. I forget
sometimes, that I can no longer beat
my chest proudly like Tarzan
of the Apes in the jungle, amongst
vines and creepers and adventure.
I forget sometimes, that I am added upon
and thus need support. As a child, it hurt
and baffled me to grow outwards.
Why are you coming? I'd ask,
as padding to my heart? as stiflers to
when I would crawl under rows of chairs
like a soldier in trenches?
Why are you coming,
blood curse, turmoil, and kick in the stomach
where there'd be no infant foot, no
tiny dragon life about to hatch?
Why are you coming,
portending omen, transformation
spells, memory smearing—to make of me
someone different, who cannot join
my friends in the clear blue swimming pool?
And yet today, though I am one of the lucky ones,
whose body pulled and then stopped, whose spirit
fit quite snugly, whose gender is soft knit
and comfortable, and matched,
I forget you see what I don't, and my skin crawls
at the thought that others would
squeeze and cradle what I simply never
feel as [s]extension but is just me. Just me
and my never coming dragon form,
full body, empty baby.
Blood of the Covenant
I make her my own.
I choose her. I make the choice to find her
through all the debris and twisting hallways and
tunnel rooms; I choose her in between the worlds of old
and new; I choose her, oceanic love and my manic care
rising, taming, rearranging, reforming. Adoring.
Relentless river, and peace.
And again, I choose him.
My son will be no less mine.
We’ll venture out with pirates and mermaids by day
and by night, I will trace the lineage passages in the Word
parading with shepherd kings and misfit pieces.
I will trace the blood my adopted savior inherited sans biology,
knowing we adopt for He first adopted us.
I will kiss my sleeping baby’s forehead and say, this, my child
is the one who cultivated in me this heart that found you,
who knit our hands together
under this fleece blanket. Listen in peace.
Who knows if legacy of billions of years would have deceased
if not for us who cultivate all else?
With this stubborn heart, I will draw forth a new beginning.
lostboyhood, look at your bodies, and Blood of the Covenant were first published, respectively, in Thimble Lit, FERAL Lit, and Royal Rose.
Ellen Huang (she/her) is an ace writer of fairy tales and speculative lit with a BA in Writing + Theatre minor from Point Loma Nazarene University. She peer reviews for Whale Road Review and has pieces published in Tiny Spoon, Moonchild Magazine, X-Ray Lit, Awkward Mermaid, and Kissing Dynamite, among others. She also explores nostalgic movies through a spiritual lens in her fantasy-inspired blog: worrydollsandfloatinglights.wordpress.com. She is lives in San Diego with her pan roommate.