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Snow Queen - Linda Shapiro

Of all the mirrors in all the toilets in all the clubs, she had to gaze into this one. What she sees are bloody lips and eyes all gunky and overshadowed and brows that do not arc or bend. They lie there, unruly centipedes, gluttons for punishment. When she gets home they will be plucked out.


When some other whores come in and smirk their slimy you-don’t-belong-here smirks, she smashes that mirror and allows a piece of glass to enter a place where the woozy reckoning of her body could take it. Where she could feel something ornery so she could get out there and dance like no one was watching.


Out on the filthy floor she twists and bends, quivers and lends herself to the adenoidal gasps and wily contortions of what they call music, her red platforms pumping gas. But tonight she senses wickedness all around, bouncing boobs and disorderly swagger in progress, everything neon and ungirded. Queenie they call her, lashing out. Get your drag on.


Outside the cold stars mock her as she trundles through the snow, whacking her ankles. She left her coat back there. Still some of those pretty pills in the pocket. She’s not cold, just numb, unencumbered by the rage that chips away at her organs, all of them at once. Who is sh/he? What’s up, Doc? Get your trans on.


The lake. How’d she get here? She should slap herself around and sober up, but maybe not. Pleasant not to feel her feet, her legs, after pain with every step, stupid crimson platforms. Prince died of those. An overdose. She’d lost hers in the slush.


If she could get to the middle of the lake, a pond really, not so big. Then if one of those assholes who calls her Slag Queen skates towards her she will brandish that shard of glass and stab him in his brutal heart.


But if she waits it out, keeps an eye on the greasy stars and listens acutely to the calls of seven  ravens passing over, perhaps some comfort would be afforded. A transformation. A child in a sleigh gliding towards her with a fur jacket, that he would offer.  A kiss from chapped lips.


Linda Shapiro has published articles, reviews, and essays on dance and the performing arts, architecture, design, and other subjects in numerous Twin Cities and New York publications. In her former life she worked as a dancer and choreographer. Her fiction has appeared in the On the Premises, Bending Genres Journal, Treehouse, the Occotillo Review, and Humans of the World.

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