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by Ephiny Gale

Crossing a threshold is never easy.
There are passwords to say,
Or patterns to memorise,
Or blood to press into the space between now and maybe.

If it seems easy, you have simply forgotten the sweat that evaporated from where it pooled around your ankles,
The partially-healed scars across your wrists,
The not-so-long ago when you were sculling in tears or heartache or words.

We do not cross a threshold lightly:
A new square on the board brings new potential and new challenges,
New prizes and new fears,
And one’s current square is known and comfortable, a you-groove worn into the mass of the world.

We do not cross a threshold often.
In the corner of your eye: a river wide enough that traversing it may mean struggling into the realm of fae,
With all its glitter and feasting and fountains, but also poisons and claw-things and teeth.
We do not try to reach it.
It is so many thresholds away, and so expensive, and we are so tired,
And do not know the way.

But you are crossing a threshold now, a single one,
With all of the stickiness and discomfort and ribbon-breaking that entails.
The threshold is always a little tight--
Birth canals and wedding rings on swollen fingers and one last corridor into the light--
It squeezes you hard enough to shed your skin,
So that you can stumble into your new place, fresh and vulnerable and brave.

And it is natural to be afraid.

But step.

* * *

Ephiny Gale’s poetry has appeared in the Leader Newspapers and her short fiction has been published in GigaNotoSaurus, Aurealis, and Daily Science Fiction. She is also the author of several produced stage plays and musicals, including the sold-out 'How to Direct From Inside' at La Mama and 'Shining Armour' at The 1812 Theatre. Ephiny has a Masters in Arts Management, a red belt in taekwondo, an amazing wife and six imaginary whippets.

What do you think is the attraction of the fantasy genre?

Fantasy is my favourite genre and it appeals to me for a great number of reasons. First and foremost is the ability to create and explore with limitless possibilities; anything you can imagine is worthy and viable with fantasy. There are no constraints around what is currently possible or even what may be possible in the future (such as with sci-fi), and ironically I usually find it easier to portray the reality of a feeling or situation via fantasy rather than realism; if you don’t have to worry about concrete truth you can instead focus on the inner truth of the story. In this way fantasy can help us examine our lives through a new lens while still creating empathy for characters and circumstances so unlike our own.

I also adore the sense of wonder that often comes with fantasy – mind-bending ideas or a magical atmosphere which, while providing some much-needed escapism, also provide inspiration to better our own world. If we can imagine it, we can then work towards bringing some of that wonder into our everyday lives.