Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

And the Painted Ponies Go Up and Down by Robin Elise Hamilton

Looking out at the insides of a cyclone was not
on Dorthy’s bingo card that day, but she had pluck.
She was not a frail young girl given to flushes and
sweats, neither of which would have made her
chores more bearable or pass more quickly; at least,
not as quickly as an unforeseemly abrupt cyclone.

She awakened with a lurch to see her life passing
before her outside the window in the spinning murk:
the times she forgot to feed the chickens and that time
she blamed Toto for eating her homework about
Cicero when she was bored and daydreamed about
rainbows instead (which she and Toto have long

since worked out) and, oh, the church picnic where
she and Alice went down to the creek by themselves
to practice kissing so they would be expert at it when
the appropriate time came along; which for Dorothy
was right then but Alice being undecided, she gently
wiped their lips off with her fingertip until a better time.

Slowly bits of her future join the swirl, like her not having
anyone to talk to, not really, when menses hits and her
body begins chaotically changing (convinced as she is
that Em has forgotten everything about it) or an image of
her finally donating that last damn dress to charity since she
will from now on be wearing trousers, fuck you very much.

The strange, curious part about crushing a passing witch
confuses her since she has no frame of reference, but at
that moment the world crashes to a halt (although her gut
keeps whirling) and she must face the very real terror of
opening the door in the pounding silence to a new and
perhaps dangerous land heavy with unhappy bluebirds.

Robin Elise Hamilton (she/her) is a queer trans woman who began her transition at age 70 and started sending her writing out under this, her chosen name, in 2024. It’s never too late.

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I cannot fix your pain I cannot solve your problem I can’t prevent the sorrow you’re feeling Or even guarantee I’ll make you smile However, because I’ve known Joy embracing

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dripped on the blanket while air rustled tamarind trees. Chekhov drank a Thai iced tea and plummeted out of this poem. A flock of circles twittered in the hacksaw bushes

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