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By Devan Barlow

It is quite something to be wed
To a man whose head, when cut off, reattaches
Until one day it doesn't
And the armor is empty
Each metal piece resonating with possibility

Gawain will tell you my husband challenged him
A pair of beheadings, to keep things balanced
Gawain will not tell you
That the round table had been paying attention, and didn't care
For a stronghold in the forest
Which didn't bow to the the table's dictates

The forest had insisted
With every drop of dew
Splinter of bark, quiescent seed
That my role was to test purity
That's typical of the forest, I suppose

But one husband forced on me by the forest
Was more than enough
So I checked to see if the armor fit
And it did! As nicely as my favorite green gown
So I would be knight and temptress both

Gawain will tell you of the knight and his wife
The challenger and his accomplice
Gawain will not tell you that he kissed them both
Speaking to each of love new, sacred, unparalleled

And then left,
Richer in pilfered emeralds
And prestige

* * *

Devan Barlow is the author of An Uncommon Curse, a novel of fairy tales and musical theatre. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in several anthologies and magazines including Solarpunk Magazine and Diabolical Plots. When not writing she reads voraciously, drinks tea, and thinks about fairy tales and sea monsters. She can be found at her website

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

Its ability to be both removed from reality and extremely true to life.