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  • Eben Bein

Mouse King


Every bit of this is true.

We met in rehearsal.

You were the Mouse King, I the Nutcracker.

We practiced slaying each other

until the studio was empty. Splinters flew

from our wooden swords.

It was unmistakable.

We were maybe 17.

Every bit of this is true.

White tights hide nothing. I stared forever

that night at that profile pic of you

with your hood up, like a druid.

When I finally got you to sleep over,

we talked until two in my parents’ attic.

Closest I had ever come

to saying it. You were straight enough

that it didn’t matter.

Years later, in the group vacation house,

assigned (by me) to the same bed,

we touched, then spooned.

When my hand wandered

downward, you just took it in yours,

held it. A no and a yes.

Sometimes, I think I got it good.

The faeries were on my side,

brought me back to life.

Made me flesh. Truly. A thousand splinters

have nothing on me.


Eben (he/they) is a high-school-biology-teacher-turned-climate-justice-educator at the nonprofit Our Climate. He was a 2022 Fellow for the "WritingXWriters Workshop," winner of the 2022 Writers Rising Up “Winter Variations” poetry contest, and has published with Fugue Literary, New Ohio Review, Columbia Review, and the like. Their first chapbook "Character Flaws" is forthcoming from Fauxmoir lit and they are currently completing their first full collection “From the top of the sky” about parent-child estrangement, healing, and love. He lives on Pawtucket land (Cambridge, MA) with some ivy plants that are not dead because his husband remembers to water them. FB/T/IG @beinology

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