Size / / /

You prince, you peacock,

you pearl-studded painting,

untouchable as chandeliers—

I could look at you all night.

No nightshade-painted sister matches

the gleam of your teeth,

the flick of your wrist.

See these limbs, dripping fairy gold—

watch the light hit me!—

but don't call me princess.

Trust me: kiss this hand and you'll choke,

tasting pumpkin under my nails.

Beneath this silk I'm dirty as floors.

Isn't it lovely, prince, to dance in the light?

But I wonder; I watch your darting hand

and swinging hilted hip,

plagued by political pigeons—

Highness, won't you? Highness, consider

with threats in their teeth.

More birds peck at your eyes

than ever flocked round a cinder bed.

Yet, stepping lightly, you smile.

I think I will lend you a shoe when I leave.

You look like a man

who can dance on glass.




Ada Hoffmann is the author of The Outside and Monsters in My Mind. Her writing has appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov's, and Uncanny. She is a computer scientist, a classically trained soprano, and an autistic self-advocate. You can find her online at http://ada-hoffmann.com/ or on Twitter at @xasymptote.
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