This fantasy prose poem (or vignette) was first published in the Spring 2014 issue of Rose Red Review. It's about a fairy who wishes to become human, but is regretful when it actually happens.
Sketch by Sketch
by Jason Sturner
These I have drawn: a hillside of moonlit
clover; creeks cradled by swaying heather; a forest beyond the crumbling stone
walls of a pasture. And all just to get home; I’ve been gone so very long.
You might find me in the green layers beyond the
sunless core of town, sidestepping the coiled corpses of men’s dreams, crossing
industrial rivers where mechanical beasts gnaw on adolescent hearts.
For here dwell the kith of my childhood: the salamander,
fox, jackdaw and deer; even the sheep—his dull eyes forever sliding along my
heels. Old friends are the mosses and ferns, the spirits of pollen, the ghosts
of tree rings. All under the watchful eye of Pan.
As a youth I was enamored with mortals, would sketch
them on peeled birch bark and hardened flows of sap. I read book after book
about their adventures, dreamt of their heroes and maidens, envisioned hordes
of treasure behind castle walls. To me, the human soul mirrored endless romance
and wonder. Man dared dream of anything; it dared dream of us.
O how I longed to dance and love and sketch
wildly among them! To escape the confines of Pan’s wild domain—to posses a
Such desires led to secrecy, to a thousand sketches
wrought in the abandoned swamps where not even the banshee will go. Over time, and
at the pace of a snail’s whisper, the leaves of my face turned autumn and blew
away. My wings shriveled and fell. I had somehow willed myself, sketch by sketch,
into the abrasive, mortal light of Man.
Alas, the humans were not as I had expected. Romance
played almost no role in courtship or marriage. Foreign to me was hunger, pain,
deep sadness. Strange and worrisome were science and religion. Hardship overcame
me, and I reached out to the snickering god of apathy.
Soon my eyes turned the colour of winter. I
broke apart as a flower petal in a storm. I do not know if I ever gained a
But despite my disappointment, one simple comfort
remained: my ability to sketch. Yet now I refuse to draw anything related to man
or his dead dreams. Instead I lose myself in the mossy wood and wild heath, desperate
to reveal the music and landscapes of my youth. Always I am trying my best to get
the details just right. It is all I can do. I am at the mercy of human imagination.