“What Fairy Godmothers Read” by Mary Soon Lee

Biographies of capable women—
Hatshepsut, Cleopatra, Wu Zetian,
Isabella, Catherine the Great, Thatcher—
analyzing, annotating as they read,
valuing success over scruples.

In moments of weakness,
when sentiment overwhelms sense,
they cut out Court Circular columns,
then settle down in a comfy chair
to dream of happy endings.

Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but now lives in Pittsburgh. Her latest book is The Sign of the Dragon, an epic fantasy told in poems, winner of the 2021 Elgin Award. She hides her online presence with a cryptically named website (marysoonlee.com) and an equally cryptic Twitter account (@MarySoonLee).