Broken Toyland

This is an Ekphrastic poem based on the work of Valery Milovic

I’m the girl with pigtails and x-ed out

eyes of death, clutching red

heart to chest, with long thin striped arms,

and he flies over me, an angel of death. First we sit on a park bench,

a nuclear reactor in the background, and he holds my heart, tiny,

in his arms which like mine are also striped, and he smiles.

Then we stand

next to the corrugated fence covered with graffiti, which encloses

what is his and my heart is large and pale. He smiles

in his round pale face, and holds one hump of my engorged heart, and I the other,

and it tears like the babe in the story of Solomon the Wise


My heart is not anatomical, pumping

blood through aorta and valve. Rather it is two-dimensional and tame,

a constructionpaper cutout for a schoolgirl valentine. Sometimes

he’s an albino rabbit with cranberry eyes, and I’m alone, just a pale girl.

My red heart is my only gift.

c. Arlaina Ash 2013



Trepidation means spine-tingling fear and trembling.
If trepidation was a color, it would be pale, cold translucent blue.
Trepidation makes sharp blue ice run through my veins.
If trepidation made a sound it would rattle like a Day of the Dead skeleton on a stick.

Trepidation is pale, cold translucent blue,
Like how I feel when they try to draw blood.
Trepidation sounds like dry bones rattling in the wind,
Possibly left from a cadaver in a lab.

Trepidation’s how I feel when they draw my blood.
I’ve always been a hard stick,
So it feels like it’s from my cadaver once I’m long dead,
And an amorous zombie nurse is my one true love.

I’ve always been a hard stick
When jagged blue ice courses through my veins.
Until my undead lover draws it from my corpse.
Trepidation means a tingling in the spine; fear and

c. Arlaina Ash 2014