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It begins with a shudder,
a small tremblor.
Then a slippage of faith.
Nothing big, you understand.
A disaster in the small.

Ace shivers, slides,
Jack’s knees give out,
A trio of deuces fail to thrive.
The Queen’s sceptre wavers.
The fall begins.

It becomes Biblical in moments,
deck dissolving, devolving
into a puddle of argument.
Who makes the first leap
will never be known.

But the cards abandon
the Ship of State,
fall into an ocean of regret.
We will find their skeletons
in the hereafter.

Priests and pundits
will pick over their bones.



Jane Yolen writes poetry for both children and adults. She is a past winner of the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Rhysling award for a short poem, Dwarf Star Award for poems under ten lines, as well as being named by the Association as a Grand Master of science fiction and fantasy poetry. She is a frequent poetry contributor to such genre magazines as Asimov’s, Mythic Delirium, and Goblin Fruit. She has over 370 books published, a huge number of them poetry. Her books have won the Caldecott, the Christopher Medal, the Jewish Book Award, and two of her stories were Nebula winners. Three of her books won the Mythopoeic Award. Last year, she was named a winner of the New England Public Radio’s Arts and Humanities Award. And her Skylark Award set her good coat on fire.
Current Issue
13 May 2024

This variation on the elixir of life pairs the flavour of roasted roc with the medicinal potency of the philosopher’s stone. But buyer beware: this dish isn’t for everyone.
mourn and lament while mixing, then cut down a tree
At the end of every tunnel, there was an epithelium of silence that deluged the larynx.
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