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Artwork by Jenna Tse, staff artist

  1. The seer spoke with the breath of the gods. Fire puffing up with smoke in the sky as my destiny became secure in a terrifying phrase. Doomed to marry a monster, but monster not otherwise told in specificity. The ambiguity led me here to this palace of wind and cloud. Winds breathe with the breath of a god.

  2. You promised with a golden tongue to slip me a visit in the cover of night, twelve clocks struck. And you were there, but face hidden underneath the dim candlelight of dripping wax. A husband you are to me, but husband you perform never in sight or sound.

  3. Homesick and sick of the invisible serving maids speaking with the tongue of the gods who reside up somewhere in a place visible by only holy mortals. Though I am many things, called beautiful and wonderful, holy is of a pedestal I have once been placed upon but knowingly, deserving of it I am not nor ever be, I think.

  4. You lend me a voice, and so I left for a moment to dally. My sisters speak with their pearled green eyes, shined within the light of scathing apathy. A monster they say I have married, and death will be my fate while the folly of fools my legacy. You had a golden tongue, but golden hair or eyes? I’ve no idea.

  5. “I say, reveal yourself, let the dripping wax melt onto your robes and the candlewick burn your skin. Monster, my sisters said. To know the truth is to let the light shine upon your face. You allowed yourself to drink in my sight, but the same privilege is denied to me. My knife, ready, for monster you are.”

  6. You disappeared in a smoky haze as the wax dripped onto you. I heard a cry and a muttering of curses before the puffs enveloped the palace you imagined. I am mad. I must be. Be madness your legacy, my sisters say as I cry for my husband. I am in absolute melancholic madness, and there are no words to describe the searing you brought upon me, intentionally, I feel. Stupid me; let me curse the gods.

  7. To the temple of the goddess they had scorned for me. My hair is not pinned up in beauty, my robes drag like a widow’s sorry feet. She appears in a golden halo, and speaking in twitters, she tells me the truth you had denied to me for so long. Love is a terrible thing because not even the truth, the most mighty of things, can make me stop remorsing, longing for your touch. Impossible tasks I did for you. Nameless things; contrary to the fabric of woman.

  8. In the darkness, I am. There is a river of wailing souls to my left and a graveyard of lost ones to my right. The box, an elixir. I cannot stop myself from opening the untarnished silver latch only to reveal a god, again, whose mere presence brings me to a wonderland of all things beautiful.

  9. You dragged me up to a greener place. Exaltation is my soul as I lay my eyes on your face. It’s not wonderful, but it’s beautiful enough for me. Drinking the nectar of the gods I feel your hands on my waist.

  10. I love this with every fiber of my being.

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