Featured Poem II • January 2017
A Net to Snare a Unicorn
to weave a net to catch a unicorn the woman plucked bald spots in her scalp knotted the hairs with clover stems and fresh green pine needles she pleaded favors from bees to siphon honey to glue her work in place while it was still wet she gathered petals a rainbow’s worth of wildflowers pressed to the sticky mass as it dried she whispered sad truths and lies of her husband’s gangrene, her starving children of how her intentions were good and true that she carried no knives or ill will that the loss of a unicorn was a sad sacrifice one she would mourn all her life when she hoisted the colorful net to the wind it stank of spring and sweetness of cesspools and rotting bodies of hope and untruth and freshly minted coins it was perfect the wind cried through the net’s gaps in a way the woman never would
Beth Cato is the author of the Clockwork Dagger series from Harper Voyager, which includes her Nebula-nominated novella Wings of Sorrow and Bone. Her newest novel is Breath of Earth. She’s a Hanford, California, native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.
Here’s the story she shared about where “A Net to Snare a Unicorn” came from: “I vaguely recall an old Bruce Coville Unicorn Treasury I regularly checked out from my hometown library back in the twentieth century. Only one of the story titles has stuck in my head: ‘A Net to Catch the Wind.’ I drew from my blurry memories of a story I haven’t read in over twenty years and used that to find a new twist for an old trope.”
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