A Victorian Dollhousing Ceremony – 3 Firefly Poems by Kristin Garth

ballerina wizard fairytale


The following three poems are excerpts from A Victorian Dollhousing Ceremony, a book of sonnets by Kristin Garth in collaboration with Tianna Hansen & Justin Karcher. The book is about The Doll, a ballerina who is sold to a wizard and shrunk in order to be kept in his dollhouse by a frenemy ballerina. The story is a poetic opera, a tragic romance between The Doll and The Wizard.

The poems below are from the Firefly series from A Victorian Dollhousing Ceremony and focus on The Wizard’s recognition that this disparity he has made between himself and The Doll is wrong.

The Last Enchantment

The truth is telescopic when he’s tall —

some distant, obfuscated wrinkled star,

uncollimated features, bone casket pall,

intentions blurred beneath a visage, far,


whose tears invade reposing dolls.  You choke,

soaked damask sofa — sadness, waterfall.

First-time-believing, near death, a dream, deepthroat,

doomed floater, saline, screams, piano shawl


around breasts, buttermilk — his drips, despair,

your burnout silk.  His desolation, your

destruction, swallowing ’til fireflies, bear

him shrunken, wallowing, weak, to dollhouse door.


His last enchantment spent becoming small,

through true love’s tiny threshold, he must crawl.


Narrative notes: The Doll is actually nearly drowning in The Wizard’s tears. He decides the only thing to do is shrink himself, using his last enchantment to be with her in the dollhouse.


Death And The Firefly

One dies, side-eyed, surprised.  Survives pine jamb

collision long enough to realize,

it’s now sidewise, seizing by an old man,

a plastic portico.   His swarm, he spies,

retreating constellation from table top

abandons insect, human dropped — same guy

who summoned, cracked window, shrinking thoughts

until he’s caught by countless claws.  Flies,

with compound eyes, community of wings,

the one at elbow gleams until its crash,

a strobe light on the floor.  Everything

is waiting to let go.  One final thrash

into a darkness, snuffing out the pride.

Was his whole life to get this man inside?


Narrative notes: The Wizard has no strength to bring his weakened shrunken body into the dollhouse so he summons fireflies to fly it up to the table where the dollhouse resides.  One of the fireflies dies during the journey.


Love Could Be A Plastic Knife

you’ll wield one night to save a life.  Removes

wing covers languidly, veined cellophane,

its grey-winged mystery. Excision proves

your love for him, this wizard, captor, bane

then friend who nearly drowned you with his tears,

diminished you to ease his fears.  Yet you

dissect insects for him, yellow glimmers,

reveal of abdomen.  Magnified through

his magic, half your size, bent antennae,

black bandit pointillistic eyes.  White ooze,

you’ll use, bug body parts, burnt sienna

pulverized arthropod hearts with pointe shoes.

Bioluminescence could save his life

the way that love could be a plastic knife.


Narrative notes: The Doll realizes The Wizard may die at the threshold of her house if she doesn’t find some magic to save him. The only magic she can perform is to summon the enchanted firefly corpse, which she dismembers and grinds into powder with a tiny plastic dollhouse knife and her toe shoes. It is her only chance to bring back her Wizard.