Three of Swords, King of Cups

Edited by Julia Rios

July 2019

Listen to this story, narrated by C. S. E. Cooney:

Sometimes, I put my heart
in a mason jar, cover it with herbs
wrap the glass in lights,
and let it shine
in the dark.

I leave it offerings:
honey, a bit of wine, a circle of salt
to keep it safe, but not pristine —
there’s nothing neat
about what’s sacred,
so I revel in the mess,
the uneven beat,
the way it speaks
without being spoken to.

There were years I buried it,
others where I banished it,
tried to drown it,
resented it for its wideness,
its wildness, the stubborn way
it refused to shatter, but thrived
to bend.

I have given it away, ripe
like fruit, frayed as a stray
wind, a creature of dancing
and daring, a thick mess
of uncompromising clockwork.

Sometimes, it comes back ragged,
worn down or atrophied,
tender from overuse,
howling, but it only needs
to be reminded of its own worth,
encased in glass
and glimmer, reawakened
to its own song —
there is no spell
more powerful than that.

© 2019 Ali Trotta

About the author

Ali Trotta

Ali Trotta is a poet, editor, word-nerd, and unapologetic coffee addict. Her poetry has previously appeared in Uncanny Magazine and Cicada Magazine. She writes television show reviews for Blastoff Comics. These have included Agent Carter, The Flash, and Supergirl. Additionally, for Blastoff, she has written some personal essays. Ali’s always scribbling on napkins, looking for magic in the world, or singing along to songs at the grocery store. You’ll often find her cooking, baking, hugging an animal, cracking a joke, or pretending to be a mermaid. She’s on Twitter as @alwayscoffee, and you can also read her blog at alwayscoffee.wordpress.com. Two of her past Uncanny Magazine poems were Rhysling Award nominees.

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