Jeannine Hall Gailey


Was a song they played at my wedding.
What does that even mean? I learned to stop
saying “sorry.” A hard habit to break,
like shuffling instead of striding, looking
at my feet. There’s a little magic
in everyone. What tricks do you think
I worked on you? I learned about plant
potions in college, medical botany.
Which leaves and bark can make you drunk,
which can make you dead. Cheers.
People burn witches and saints.
The saints have different stories.
They have foundations. Witches,
you could burn their words away,
drown them. The saints had songs.
Some even ended up in our fairy tales.
There’s always a little bit of enchantment
in the youngest sister, the one who runs away
on her own. She meets someone in the dark woods.
The rest of the story is still being written.
Dress in white like a princess
all you want. People will say what they like.
You’re too mouthy for your own good.
There’s fire on your tongue,
sorcery at your fingertips.



Jeannine Hall Gailey is a poet with multiple sclerosis who served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She's the author of six books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, Field Guide to the End of the World, winner of the Moon City Press Book Prize and the SFPA's Elgin Award and the upcoming Flare, Corona from BOA Editions. Her work appeared in journals like The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and Poetry. Her web site is www.webbish6.comTwitter: @webbish6 and Instagram: @webbish6