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Poems by Hailey Spencer

Towns That Trigger

There are places where it’s not safe to walk

After dark

When you’ve had too much

or not enough

to drink

In the fluorescent landscape of your dreams

(Ever, in any state of being)

The memory of escape is hazy,

(breaking down bones so you could slide out through the cracks)

leaving behind a year’s worth of reminders, including

Apologies written on crumpled napkins

Stories that contain the words

safe, home, we,

or fruit fly

One pillow, one blanket, two sheets

A mind filled with something

other than broken glass.


Too Late or not at All

The polar bear said, “Are you frightened?”

No, she wasn’t.

There was no road to the castle.

“You’ll get there either too late or never at all.”

Yes, that could very well be true.

He was so wild and furious.

“I once blew an aspen leaf there…

…if you’re not afraid to go with me.”

She was not afraid, no matter what bad things might happen.

They went far,

so far that no one would believe

how far they went.

“Are you frightened?” said the North Wind.

“No,” she said, she wasn’t.

All lines drawn directly from Tiina Nunnally’s translation of the Asbjørnsen & Moe telling of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.”


Hailey Spencer is a Seattle-based poet with a BA in English from Seattle University. She is the creator of three webseries with the independent production company Arsenic Martini Productions. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies. She loves fairy tales and has a tattoo of Baba Yaga’s house on her calf.


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