Mermaid Storms

Have you noticed
down by the river
when the storm trees sway
that the mermaids come out
and they sing and they play?
But if you look closely
I think you will find
that the mouths that they sing with
are anything but kind.
Just look at those canines
gleaming like pearls
consider the spikes
woven throughout their curls.
Their voices are lovely
but their words are ill.
Don’t dare to answer them
or you’ll be filling the bill
of drowned down by the river
stormy day kill. — Annette Marie Smith

RRH Reminiscing

by Annette Marie Smith

Your fur was soft enough
to butter my greedy hands
with wild abandon embodied
in a flock of red robins whose breasts trembled
with warning but also with music
wild and clear and piercing.
Your fangs looked to be just the thorns
I would impale myself on
were I a thorn bird
looking to sing my penultimate song.
I mythologized you whilst simultaneously
housebreaking you.
And now what have I done
but make a blanket of memories,
a pelt filled with stones
that speak and bear witness
to the listening ears of my bones.

One of the Twelve Dancing Princesses Speaks On How the Dancing Was Spell Forced On Them and the Abomination Thereof

by Annette Marie Smith

It wasn’t the soreness of my feet
the aching that felt like an entire country
was being Greek fire bombed beneath my skin.
It wasn’t the blisters the size of onions
translucent and pulsing with a life of their own.
It wasn’t the way that my legs were broken
hobby horses forced to glide
on the wheeled balls of magic
or the way that my waist threw me about
rag doll above and rag doll below,
devil’s winch in between.
My hair shaken loose became
flagellant whips, gin tipped and sharp as sin.
But it was not those nettles either.
The false gaiety and strangled laughter
were not the beam
that could not be plucked and which really
broke this proverbial camel’s back.

It was the physical compulsion
the being forced to do something
no matter how pleasurable
against my will.
If you do not need my will
then what neccesitance me?


Portcullis to a frozen fairy land,
these teeth of winter gleam
as they bite the bright air.
If they do open
at a secret touch or word,
creak with the weight of weird
like an omen bird,
then pause at the threshold
and read the two limen words carven there:
“beauty” in script and bold “beware”. — Annette Marie Smith

Voie Périlleuse

Abstract surreal by Tuminka at deviantart(dot)com

Even the stars blurred the night I left you. My cape, red as intent, propelled me down a path that seemed unreal, with trees that looked as if they were etched by an artist’s hand. But they came to life, the trees, breathed and rustled and burgeoned into a forest behind me as I made my way beneath the pregnant moon. They sighed gustlets of wind as they stirred. Fluttering handkerchiefs to catch each falling sorrow, or scrubbing pads to scour every image of you from the very heart of me? I still cannot be sure. — Annette Marie Smith

Even the Death Sea

Conceptual Photography by Dariusz Klimczak

We are all, all of us souls, boats. We find ports that call to us. We anchor. We dock. But the sea is always there and the sea is always calling. It is inevitable that we will unfurl our sails, like wings, and take to the tides again. Come Scylla and Charybdis, come Kraken, come Selkie and Siren, and all unplumbed depths. Even the Death Sea is not the last sea. — Eller Oarsson of Landsend from the Night Fairytale Series by Annette Marie Smith

Selkie Shift

Dress of Paper by Annette Marie Smith
I wore a dress made of paper
It rustled when I walked. You were the wind
pulling at it, creeping with fingers of cold
trying to get under my skin.
I came dressed in mud, painted obscure as night.
You were the chain that pulled on the light.
I wore birdsong
and dawn was a crown in my hair.
You came with a lawnmower and blade-spread
feathers everywhere.
I took off my skin and wore spirit to escape you
but you stole my skin like I was a selkie
making me feel I could never go home
would always be prisoned with you.
— Why I Left When I Could by Annette Marie Smith

Happy First Day of Fall, 2015!

“The Wall” conceptual photography by Annette Marie Smith

The Speckled Ones

“This is a story my gran told me about the speckled people. She told it every year on Morgda Eve and as she told it the autumn winds swept the forest floor outside our small home beneath the trees and the trees caught every crisp star in their branches where they lit up the night like a great chandelier.

The speckled people are freckled people: spots of color dotting and dashing their skin. Nowadays this peculiarity is attributed to a substance we all have in our skin in varying degrees and differing manifestations. But my gran said freckles are the remnants of the markings of a forest people well known in their time but now all but forgotten.

Silent on their feet they were, moving to the whisper of breeze on leaves and windlets on grass. The sighing of the woodland marked their passage through it. Magic it seemed and invisible too because they (like the gray and brown and orange and black array of colors you see in the squirrels and other wild things of fall — matching their colors to the world around them) wore the colors of harvest on themselves and in their skin and thus they blended in so perfectly that they could hardly be detected — whether moving or still. Their “freckles” let them bend in with the fall foliage much like the squirrels and other wildlings.

Their face markings were gold leaf, metallic bronze, tourmaline, and soot. Red bled in lines radiating from their chins and sprawling downward in a path that covered their bodies in green lines and brown, gray and dun. All looked to be painted on but this was their natural coloration.
Beings that personified the forest in their long twiggy fingers and their bramble hair, their swaying walk and their skin so strange-a-shimmer.

Gran said they were known for their true-seeing into the other world and that the spots on their skin also signified all the possibilities of worlds within worlds.

Well this species of magical being intermarried and over the long years lost much of their distinctiveness but two things remained, my gran always told me, as the wind moaned and the stars twinkled: their spots (now merely freckles) and their unerring ken to true-see.” — Lyssa of the Arboreal Shades from the Night Fairytales series by Annette Marie Smith