"Corcoran’s fantasy debut is equal parts thrilling and ridiculous. [...] Readers will look forward to the sequel."

June 8, 2015

Sestina: After the Fall


Piercing raindrops fall
down like a marionette’s strings.
Women crowd the street mourning your death, and my life.
The whole world is weeping, just for you.
Sorrow drips down the walls like bloody black
ink soaks the newspaper, obscuring my name. The letters crawl away, fly


off the paper and fall to the ground, the way my hopes fly
straight to hell. I can pick myself up after each fall.
That’s what you said, anyway. But how would you know? You’ve never been draped in black,
steeped in sin. They say in the presence of the unholy, harp strings
break, but that’s never happened to you, not you,
who had no regrets and easily gave up your life

to save mine. But what good is the life
of a killer? No better than that of a cockroach or fly.
I was born into darkness and accepted the hell that was presented to me, but you
said I could rise above that. I didn’t have to fall
and keep falling. I decided to climb back up, trusting the strings
of your words would support me. But it was you who thrust me back into the black

unbearable sins of my past. This time the white betrayed the black.
When you said you would help me start over, live a life
untainted, I thought there were no strings
attached. But now I see I was just your puppet. I would perform and your hands would fly
above, controlling me. And when the show was over, you let the strings fall.
Now I must live with your choice, while you

are happily dead, free from telling anyone the truth about what you
asked me to do that night, when the roles of white and black
were reversed. You, the saint, were the one to fall
and I, who have lived as a demon all my life
was the one who broke free, tried to fly
away from the snares of that darkness, away from the entangling strings

of hell. But there are still the strings
of judgment; people don’t forget what’s unforgivable. Do you
think such things exist? Can I still fly
towards the future, or will the past always cling to me, sticky and black?
Do you think it’s worth continuing life
after what I’ve done, after the fall?

But I won’t fall anymore, and I don’t need your support or your strings.
I will live my life, even in the shadow of you.
I may be shrouded in black, but I will still choose to fly.

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