Soul Intentionally Sold

by Ellen Huang

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in my dreams I choose to glow
radioactive from being bewitched,
pulsing outside for lack of heart within.

in my dreams I choose to dress pressed and tight
in a ball gown made from hourglass, sand
burying me alive, but ghosts never looked so fine.

in my dreams I choose the touch of smoke
taped over my mouth and materializing me away
rather than the sun in a friend’s selfless open arms.

I stick to shadow enveloping me in nightly webs
and turn from love bathed in golden light
and I shrink back from human touch like
a hypnotized princess from a spinning wheel spindle,
turning from open embrace to secure clutches.

in my dreams, I choose to feed on existing where I am strangely useful
rather than be unnecessarily, unconditionally, freely loved
and like finding my dark hair, still attached, knotted
to the bed frame in the morning, a spider’s web of thoughts                                                             
the question binds me up: why would I choose such chains?

©️ 2021 by Ellen Huang

“Soul Intentionally Sold,” by Ellen Huang, was first published on June 17, 2021 in Love Letters to Poe and can be found in Love Letters to Poe, Volume I: A Toast to Edgar Allan Poe.

Interview with Ellen Huang, Author of “Soul Intentionally Sold”

What inspired your poem?

I had a strange dream!

It’s open to interpretation, but I think it speaks to the terrifying notion that we are inherently vulnerable, and all we have a choice in is where/what/who we can be vulnerable with. An embrace is just one example of a truly vulnerable state: I mean, you’re briefly tying someone up/trapping them with your arms! But at best, it’s a mutually vulnerable thing, not a trap.

What’s your favorite gothic story or poem and why?

I love Frankenstein. While originally a story of fearing science, it seems to me to be, on a deeper level, a story of bearing responsibility for one another. I’m fascinated with the way the creature starts out vulnerable and innocent, even yearning to be adopted into a human family. The tragedy is so striking to me how the creature reflects the most human yearning of all, and how the creature still could have been good had his creator still cared for him.

How long have you been writing?

Since even before I learned how to write! As a young child I was already telling stories all the time. My earliest memories include writing a short story in kindergarten about why fish blow bubbles, and stapling together pieces of paper that tell of a boy who switched places with the moon since he took his own mobility for granted.

Do you have a theme you return to time and again?

I love writing fairy tales, progressive faith, and platonic love. I think we could use more platonic love poems in the world. Even this dark poem “Soul Intentionally Sold” hints at it; a spell or captivity can be broken with turning to the love of friends, if only one would choose it.

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

“Because,’ she said, ‘when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.”

-Neil Gaiman, Coraline

What are you working on now?

A fairy tale chapbook and an asexual horror anthology! Eventually I’d like to put together a progressive devotional inspired by all sorts of cinema; for now, I’m building it on my blog.

What else would you like people to know? Where can people find you online?

Please find me online on my blog Worry Dolls and Floating Lights or my Twitter @nocturnalxlight! I write all sorts of speculative goodies from fairy tale to fantasy to horror.