Black Petals Issue #92, Summer, 2020

In the Land of Giants

BP Artist's Page
Mars-Chris Friend
Misty Page-A Game of Chess
Sean M. Carey-Chilled Bones Under Lovely Skin
Roy Dorman-Death in the Round Room, Part IV
Lael Braday-Magical Perspective
Matt Spangler-Master Smasher
Lena Abou-Khalil-The Nowhere Man
Grace Sielinski-'Port
Gavin McGarvey-The Black Petals
Marc Dickerson-Theater is Dead
C. S. Harbold-The Whispering
Dean Patrick-Vincent's Warning
Doug Park-We Get Him Together
Joseph Hurtgen-Worlds to Conquer
Mickie Bolling-Burke-The Bringer of Darkness
Aaron Hicks-The Last Days
Cindy Rosmus-Out of Juice
Matthew Wilson-Endless Men's Hate
Michael Steven-Hell Rift
Sean Goulding-Hypnagogic
David C. Kopaska-Merkel-In the Land of Giants
Loris John Fazio-The Thing in the Woods
Loris John Fazio-The Beggar Knows
Richard Stevenson-Peg Leg
Richard Stevenson-The Alkali Lake Monster
Richard Stevenson-The Green Man

In the Land of Giants


David C. Kopaska-Merkel


At first, Alice enjoyed the attention:

The giants stared,

They gently stroked her hair

With their huge fingertips;

What they wanted, she wasn’t sure,

But they watched almost every minute of her day

(every room in the dolls’ house

could be seen from outside,

except the bathroom—she dressed there).


She was allowed to wander the big house,

But a servant kept close,

So she wouldn’t be stepped on, they said,

But also to keep her from escaping.


The beanstalk had been chopped down,

So she couldn’t get home, anyway.


Dinner was excruciating:
No matter how many phone books
Were stacked on the chair
She couldn't reach her plate,
She couldn’t lift the fork,

So she had to eat with her hands,
And she got so thirsty,
But couldn't lift her glass.
When would dinner end?


Nights were bad, too:

She tossed and turned;

Each time she woke,

A great eye loomed at the window,

It seemed to undress her with its gaze,

And there were noises;

She remembered lying awake,

Listening to her 13-year-old brother,

And the thin wall between their rooms;

These noises were louder.


By day, the atmosphere had changed,

How could a boy 15 feet tall

Lurk and slink around corners?

But he was everywhere,

Licking his lips,

Hands deep in his pockets;

She couldn’t wait to get back

To the dollhouse

And lock herself in the bathroom.


She could hear him

When they were alone together,

She in the tiny room,

He just outside the house,

Crouched beside the table,

Pants probably still around his ankles.


When she found the bottle,

“Drink me” tied on with string,

She didn’t read the warnings,

She chugged it.

After that, any fascination

The giants had had with her was gone:

She was just an ordinary girl,

A doll no longer.






David C. Kopaska-Merkel edited Star*line in the late ‘90s, and later served as SFPA President. He won the Rhysling award (long poem) in 2006 for “The Tin Men,” a collaboration with Kendall Evans, and has edited two Rhysling anthologies. He twice took second place Elgin awards: for SETI Hits Paydirt, 2015, and The Edible Zoo, 2014. He was voted SFPA Grand Master in 2017. His poetry has been published in scores of venues, including Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Polu Texni, Illumen, and Night Cry. He is the author of 31 books; several are available on Smashwords and Amazon. The newest is a poetry collection, The Ambassador Takes One for the Team, from Diminuendo Press. Kopaska-Merkel edits and publishes Dreams and Nightmares, a genre poetry zine in its 34th year of publication. Blog: @DavidKM on Twitter. He and his wife live in a 120-year-old farmhouse. He shares a keyboard with two cats.

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