A History of Beauty

by Brian D. Morrison

There is no other color but the one
she is about to bite. She tiptoes
over mushrooms, contemplates aging. 
The mushrooms, their squat broad
shoulders, will protect her
from time and teeth. Horrors in all
directions, the girl blinks away frost
cast on her ring finger as the witch
brushes a fingernail over it in the giving
of red. The girl’s lips curve
over apple, her tongue in place to catch
the sweet. Peace follows wide as skyline
and as tall. The mushrooms under tree
covered in slick dew collide with light, 
all of them growing. The witch
noses a flower, and the petals fall flat
like so many dissipating clouds ending
a storm. The forest is a terrifying place. 
But for a second, the witch hangs
her head as if she cannot bare
the sight of the girl in pain. A curl
at the corner of her mouth like a whip
gashes giants. Werewolves tuck tail. 
A fairy flies directly into the sun. 
The mushrooms sprout as the girl
slides to earth like the smallest of leaves
culled from a tree before hard rain.

Ghost Ocean 18

Brian D. Morrison completed his MFA at the University of Alabama, where he was an assistant editor at Black Warrior Review. His poetry has appeared at West Branch, The Bitter Oleander, Verse Daily, Copper Nickel, Cave Wall, and other journals. Currently, he works as an Assistant Professor of English at Ball State University.