“The Beech King Down on Bartholomew Run” by Rick Hollon

Eyes closed, I sealed my bargain to the fey king
in the beechwood behind the cul-de-sac
where sodium lights and xanthophylls
refracted white sheets of summer ghosts
and rain searched the holes in my shoes

I’d walked these woods each night since my dreams
first learned to repeat themselves in case I didn’t get
the message of my father throwing me from the boat
or me falling from the bridge everyone else could cross
and all the alligators waiting for me in Ohio’s riverways

And though the last great lobelia had gone to seed
goldenrod and aster wore pale gowns to whirl the wind
mushrooms did the weighty business of tearing it all down
still the beechwood lord found a glint of green within me
and smiled just a bit too brightly as he struck the deal

Rick Hollon (they/them or fey/fem) is an nonbinary queer writer from the American Midwest. Feir stories and poems have appeared in Strange Horizons, perhappened, Prismatica, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Find them on Twitter @SailorTheia.