Paul Bunyan Takes a Lover by Jessica Gregg

She laughs too loudly, her cackles

dimming the light towers. Her sighs

send back the tides. She opens

her hands and sapphires turn

to berries that fall into his bowl.

She covers him with her feathered

cloak, and he sleeps a forest slumber.

When he awakes, she takes him

to her bed and he weeps silver tears

of joy and wonder that fill the ocean.

When his enemies come, she ties them

to arrows and shoots them into a denim sky.

He wails that this is too good, that she

is too much. But Paul, she tells him,

she cannot daisy chain her days into easy,

weave shrouds or cast nets for only three fish.

Someone who can turn petals into golden

topaz to spit at the moon cannot be told

to turn them into glass. That Paul, she says,

is like unbreathing the air or unseeing

the sun, unfeeling a moon crater

of heartbreak. And this Paul, she tells

him, is what it would be like to be small.

Jessica Gregg is a Baltimore-based poet, former journalist, and proud rowhouse dweller. Her work has appeared in Broadkill Review, Delmarva Review, Global Poemic, Rise Up Review, and the Under Review, among other publications.

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