fairytale with blackberries


i argued with the sea

in another life               i tossed copper

into the froth

and watched the sand

tremble into oynx,

sable skin            rippling with scales

trade me           for spring,


for anything       



a blackberry bush grows

by the church’s back door


a young couple harvests me

and cooks me up for jam, counting

on the sugar to stay sweet in winter


there are no mistakes in this life


i come alive in the presence

of every wanderer half remembering a hymn,

swaying toward the melody

a few steps from the gate

he shaved his beard clean off, once


just to see how it felt,

and i never thought about it until now, how he

must’ve looked, hunched over the apartment’s

bathroom sink, sea foam lather

sleeping on his face


i wasn’t there. but i could’ve been

leaning into the door frame

or cross-legged on the counter

watching the razor, the dragon’s breath,

the night unspooling

its thick thread

through the crack in the window

Ethan J. Murray is a queer, autistic poet loved into existence by 12 headmates. Their work is forthcoming or published in Occulum Journal, Sidereal Magazine, Homology Lit, and elsewhere. They post free interactive fiction about trans kids learning magic at You can find them on Twitter, Patreon, and Ko-fi @ethanandco.