Fairy Prose — Laura Madeline Wiseman


The fairies show me their tails. They bend over in
uttanasana and hold their big toes, butts like knees in
the air under statin fabric. Two of them stand and drop
the back edge of their boy shorts to let a minx-sized real
tail palpitate the air, like an extra thumb, like a big toe,
like a penis, like a bad growth. Two others bring me
books, setting them on the desk, miniatures in gilded
leather and clasps with the expected titles—The Red
Fairy Book
, The Green, and so on, through the hues—
until they get to the blue one that’s nearly blank side.
They open it to a page listing their names, their ID
numbers, their dates of birth. They strip. They sing.
They dance. From out of nowhere, an emcee in a tux
comes out to asks questions like, What should our nation
do regarding the disproportional high rates of
unemployment and lower economic standing for
One hands me a pen, You’re here to set our
I grip the pen, stare at the open book. I half-listen
to the answers—sixty seconds of intelligence. One says,
We want to know our worth to the dollar. I look away,
search the shadows where fairies disappear, sashes
waving, cut I can’t set a price, book a blueness from
which we can’t turn, quantify life in fiscal worth. I set
the blue pen down, half-rise, Can I go to the bathroom?
The fairy nods as another fairy answers a question
about repurposing foreclosures. I duck from the room,
searching for the women symbol, the unisex symbol, the
family restroom symbol for all of the above, any door
with a toilet. I search and search, it takes a long time,
days pass, weeks. Fairies pass me, but never offer
directions. Finally I find one, turn the lock and sit,
wondering how much longer I can stall.



I didn’t want to open the moon fairies. We found them
at the dollar store near the bottom of the rack, below
the glow in the dark zombies, dinosaurs, and snakes—
the only fairies there and they’re from the moon. If I put
them in water, they’d grow up to 600%, but who wants
a fairy the size of a book, a sword, a chest, pink and
bloated, too heavy to hold with both hands? My choice
came in three variations—same face and body, but
different skirt, hair, wing shape. Under the plastic they
stood in mountain, hands open with nothing to give—
no magic charm, no fairy dust, no specks of sparkle. The
directions warned they weren’t food to swallow, Do not
eat or put in mouth!
Doesn’t every girl wish to kiss the
lips of a fairy, to slide a fairy’s fingers inside a mouth, to
let a tongue taste that fairy space behind earlobe, knee,
where wing meets back. Or is that only what a lunatic
wishes? The back panel instructed, Use only as shown. I
did. I placed them in water for a week, but there must
be something wrong with the water. Nothing happened.


Laura Madeline Wiseman
is the author of twenty books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press). Her recent books are Wake (Aldrich Press), Drink (BlazeVOX), and The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters: Ten Tales (Les Femmes Folles Books) with artist Lauren Rinaldi. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Margie, Mid-American Review, and Feminist Studies. She teaches English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.