Castles Besieged

by Sarah Morse

I once could retreat to the castles
in my mind
where dragons and gorgons and centaurs
lounge with foxes and wolves and hippos
in the company of royals and peasants alike,
all waiting to be written into existence,
all waiting to meet each other anew
in the stories I cultivate
which can only be brought forth
through my will to bring pencil to paper
or fingers to keyboard.
I once could summon these characters,
could converse with these close friends of mine,
at the first sprinklings of steamy water
or at Cinderella’s curfew hour.

But now

Bursts of creativity squashed
by a giant
tinier yet more formidable
than Jack’s.
Gone are the days when
voices argued over whether I should give in
to imagination or to sleep
because now voices outside my head
are drowning them out with
anger and hurt and blame,
and it is the pounding of my heart
that I hear rather than
even the faintest whispers of character chatter.
My fantastical friends are all trying to recover,
like I am,
from the crumbling of castle walls.
And I’m left to wonder
will they be okay?
Will I be okay
if they are forced to find refuge
in someone else’s castles? 
Or when this is all over,
will I be able to see
the turrets peek through the clouds again,
to visit the fortress

Sarah Morse lives in San Diego, CA. She graduated in 2019 from Point Loma Nazarene University with a B.A. in Literature, and in the same year, her capstone paper on Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time made the Global Undergraduate Awards’ Highly Commended list. She has been relying on books, Netflix, and Disney+ to get her through the quarantine. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.