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little sisters belong beneath crowns,
by nature; the golden age of
gone traditions swept away at last
by an emerald sea. their birthright: to live
under an infinite eclipse, tiara of sunbeads,
scepter of starlight; as a stargazer,
i would trade anything to bathe forever
beneath such a glow but i think the princesses
are sick of constellations by now. it is easy
to take for granted everything
you have ever known. it is easy
to take for granted the taste of favor,
a remedy tucked under your tongue
for as long as you’ve ever fallen ill;
remember: when you were young
sometimes you craved the taste of
medicine because it was the closest thing
you came to candy. remember:
she used to be afraid
of the monster underneath her covers
so you held her all night to protect her.
remember: she is grown.
remember: she has forgotten
the night she fell asleep in your arms, but
remember: once she had a dream about it
and woke up wishing it was real.
remember: a shepherdess
doesn’t miss the stars until she’s
in the city, a princess doesn’t miss
law until she is left to roam free;
city girls, remember this:
the metropolis is a labyrinth of serpents
and ghouls. there are still monsters
out there. don’t become one.
remember: the most fearsome type of monster
is the type of monster who you used to love.

Caroline Dinh is a comp sci student who writes sometimes. She is the founder of Backslash Lit and has work published or forthcoming in Flash Point SF, Ample Remains, and Pollux Journal.
Current Issue
4 Dec 2023

“Ask me something only I would know.” You say this to your wife because you know you’re human. You can feel it in the familiar ache in your back, and the fear writhing in your guts. You feel it in the cold seeping into your bare feet from the kitchen floor. You know you’re real because you remember.
now, there is the shape...humanoid, but not / necessarily human
He came from a salt mine that used to be solid all the way through
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