Desire on Sale
The mannequin faces a storefront window. Stiff, plastic legs cap off in a miniskirt with enough flair to remind one of dance or flame. Her hair, unbound brown, shifts in air conditioning like a horse’s mane. Twitch, a trick of light or sorcery, moves one shoulder. She wants to wear a wedding dress, feel it slide against hard limbs, silk bouquet taped to her hands. She almost sees the sparkle of a glass engagement ring, all promises and shine. She listens to shoppers who don’t have to pretend, their freedom ever-taunting. Twitch becomes a scowl, becomes a shudder, becomes a step. Display shoes she hates walk her back to the bridal section and all the real ladies with their pretty, pretty dreams.
The Lady Excalibur’s Tale
No one asked if my anvil was a prison or a sheath before they wrapped their hands around my gilded neck, first timid then strangle-tight. Men, who viewed freedom as a gift only they could grant and me, a power only they could hold. They waited for the hymn of my release… and waited long. I finally relinquished myself to a coaxing grip and an earnest face, just like the other damsels of yore. But, he only saw himself inside of me. I traded one stone for another.
About the Author: Jennifer Ruth Jackson writes about reality’s weirdness and the plausibility of the fantastic. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Star*Line, Apex Magazine, and more. She runs a blog for disabled and neurodivergent creatives called The Handy, Uncapped Pen from an apartment she shares with her husband. Visit her on Twitter: @jenruthjackson.