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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 9: August 2021
Prose Poem: 205 words
By Cherie Hunter Day

The Seeds at Svalbard

Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale.
—Hans Christian Andersen

There’s always been a window between the two of us. It’s most noticeable in winter when the glass is frosted with flowers. As children we melted perfect circles using pennies warmed on the woodstove. Yes, this is tenderness and we can trust the view, however brief. If we play our parts, one of us will be taken and the other will be spared. But if both of us stumble, which one of us is lost? No one can hear a scream this far north—those white bees turning into blades. Spitsbergen has always been magical. In our innocence it was home of the Snow Queen and we need her again. Only her permafrost castle and icy kisses will guard us from our self-destructive tendencies. We’ve driven steel and cement into her mountain and labeled it ground zero. This vault, the Queen’s heart, will save countless slumbering seeds against extinction. Once again she has us in the relentless cold, grasping icy splinters, trying to spell the word that now will ransom barley, wheat, and rice. Even with some of the pieces missing the puzzle is clear. The secret password is eternity.



Publisher’s Note:

Epigraph is from Hvad Hele Familien Sagde (What the Whole Family Said) by Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875), Danish playwright, novelist, and poet best remembered for his fairy tales.

Cherie Hunter Day
Issue 9, August 2021

is an associate editor for The Heron’s Nest. Her short prose and poems have appeared in 100 Word Story, KYSO Flash, Mid-American Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Modern Haiku, Moon City Review, Quarter After Eight, SmokeLong Quarterly, Unbroken, and Wigleaf. Her work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is anthologized in Nothing Short of 100 (Outpost 19, 2018), Accidents of Light: KYSO Flash Anthology 2018 (KYSO Flash Press), and NOON: An Anthology of Short Poems (Isobar Press, 2019).

Recent collections include a prose poem e-chapbook, Qualia (White Knuckle Press, 2017), and a collection of short poetry, for Want (Ornithopter Press, 2017). She is also the author of two award-winning haiku collections: apology moon (Red Moon Press, 2013) and The Horse with One Blue Eye (Snapshot Press, 2006).

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