The Mad Hatter


I have spoken often of his eyes. Gravel-blind,

he forced blood in his eyes, muttering

prophecy: ostrich, toothpaste, Turkish,

toast and teakettles. Flapdoodle! We're all mad here.

My body is a cabinet full of caterpillars. Leaves

are sprouting in my hair, buds blooming

through my eyes and throat. Haloed, I am hidden.

Each step feels like its own miracle, but white

eludes us like time, a melted pocket watch. He was

vulnerose, tuberose, many bone flowers shining

in the moonlight, metacarpals shimmer. Death

he saw as always being beautiful, love like

a burning tire under the cracked, grey sky.

As a child he was given a wounded bat, spirited

it away to his hiding places. Next morning, it lay

half dead, covered with frenzied ants. Overcome,

he bit into the writhing mass, decapitation

the highest honor. I always enjoy

when the dead talk.




Jeannine Geise is the rare, contented high school English teacher.  She graduated with her MFA in Creative Writing this past summer from Ashland University, and currently resides near Dayton, Ohio with her handsome husband, Colin; her impressive collection of X-Men comic books; and her two cats, Socrates and Kittah.  (Notice the impressive use of semicolons!)  To read more about Jeannine and her work, visit her at: