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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 22: 4 Feb. 2024
Microfiction: 107 words
By Mikki Aronoff

Fairest of All

—After Self-Reflection (1953) by Gertrude Abercrombie*

You perch in front of your looking glass, pat your lacquered black hair. You broomstick your spine, and silver flakes from the back of the mirror. A black cat stares back. You glower and leave. Yesterday, a startle of snakes flashed in the glass. The day before, a blackbird. Last week, spiders. And so it went and so it will go. You return again and again, expecting a more agreeable image, perhaps a queen, one whose gaze will reveal who you think you are. Curses rain down from a blazing peacock sky, and you drink and drink and drink.



* Self-Reflection (painting: oil on masonite, 1953) by American Surrealist painter Gertrude Abercrombie (1909-1977) may be viewed at artnet:


Publisher’s Note:

Called by some “the queen of the bohemian artists” and by others simply “Queen Gertrude,” Ms. Abercrombie was also active in the Chicago jazz scene. And her art was inspired in part by the music of her friends Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Sarah Vaughn.

Gertrude Abercrombie: The Whole World is a Mystery, the most comprehensive museum presentation of the artist’s work to date, will be on view at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, from January 18 to June 1, 2025” (KARMA, the New York Gallery representing Abercrombie’s work):

See also “A midcentury ‘jazz witch’ artist finds a fandom in the future” by Neda Ulaby on NPR (29 October 2021):

(All links above were retrieved on 7 January 2024.)

Mikki Aronoff’s
Issue 22 (February 2024)

work appears in 100 word story, Atlas and Alice, Bending Genres, Gone Lawn, HAD, jmww, New World Writing, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Milk Candy Review, Mslexia, The Citron Review, The Disappointed Housewife, The Dribble Drabble Review, The Offing, Tiny Molecules, trampset, and elsewhere. She’s received nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, Best American Short Stories, and Best Microfiction.

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