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Kristin Garth

Enchanted Hunters

A certain sort of sicko uses art
to make his way inside a teenage girl.
Enchanted hunters, like the play that starts
Lolita on the road to Quilty, whirl
of words he wields to take a toy away.
A novel nemesis by Nabokov,
a grifter's gift to charm and to convey,
predates predators with Oscars, coughs
and jeers but some who stand to cheer for one
compelled by guilt to flee. Another, all
adopted daughters — one, for thing he's done
must change her name — stays black tie, no blackball.
Enchanted hunters, Roman to Harvey,
for art, females have suffered quietly.


I played your happy princess. Role, reward
bestowed like butterscotch unwrapped you place
inside an ever open mouth. Adored,
adorned in sailor dresses, braids. My face
you rearrange with rules requesting smiles.
You seek a simple suffering in socks
with lace and polka dots, tears, crocodile,
to taste, forget. What I must feel, you’ll box
it up for me with bows. Broken young,
I can’t remember what it’s like to break.
I cannot emulate a thing that’s stung
and smile as if it’s theater and fake.
I tried to take your torture with a twirl.
I’m not always a happy little girl.


They vilify your Cobra Kai. You grow
him there, your blonde bonsai. An angry boy
without a dad, the way of fist you show:
all mercy’s bad. A dojo disciple destroys
in blackest gi. Serpent’s strike you shape,
a pretty, pitied boy and make menace
into a man. A brotherhood of snakes
with hands you hone, no fear, to finish
to body bag. High school is Vietnam.
Their fight for flags in stadiums, your fight
in woods still seen, hear M60s and bombs.
A namesake son you camouflage with night.
Who would he be had Daddy chose to stay?
The way of man, all lessons from Sensei.

➥ Bio