Two Poems by Jill Talbot

When Hatchimals Came To Town

The ugliest toy of the season

emerges from its egg—causes

riots in the street. If Furbies had

half-night stands with Tamagotchies—

meet Hatchimals.

 

Which witch is which?

 

Nevermind Aleppo, nevermind Trump,

somebody just paid $500 for a Hatchimal.

You evil little elves—it’s Christmas.

Somebody had a three-night stand

with a Neanderthal. Hatchimal, Hatchimal,

wherefore art thou Hatchimal?

 

Is it made of Gold or silver? Does it speak

fluent Latin? It has marbles, they are eyes.

It has an egg, it has a due date.

It’ll be in a landfill by next

season. Will you buy it?

 

The Real Velveteen Rabbit

The Velveteen Rabbit lies on the bed,

his fortune awaits—will he become Real

some day? Will he lick salt and frolic

with the other rabbits? For now

 

all they want is for him to lick salt

from the boy’s tears. In the Real version

the rabbit ought to be angry with those

who bought him to begin with.

 

A furuncle develops deep in his skin,

a tiny bit of Real is trying to break free—

until it erupts. He is becoming Real slowly

 

then quickly. At first he is hinky—

unsure of himself. Then he becomes

 

animate and fervent—he shakes and moves

and dances! His fur grows shabby and starts

to grow longer, he becomes bearded

like a goat and becomes older and wiser.

 

He jumps on the boy’s emerald green dresser

to eat a prune, why shouldn’t it be his?

The boy wouldn’t eat it.

 

Some might say that he is not as cute

as he used to be but he knows

this doesn’t matter any more

 

for he is Real and all the other toys

are jealous, as they should be.

 

This is the Real version of the story.

Who would want to be bought then thrown

into a pile, waiting to be set on fire—

 

to an oven—I can think of where

that has happened before. To be Real

 

is not always easy, of course. It hurts

sometimes, they got that part right.

 

But it hurts especially to know

one was Unreal before.

 

This is the story they do not teach

so when I became Real I set down

to teach it.

Jill Talbot's writing has appeared in Geist, Rattle, Poetry Is Dead, The Puritan, Matrix, subTerrain, The Tishman Review, The Cardiff Review, PRISM and others. Jill won the PRISM Grouse Grind Lit Prize. She was shortlisted for the Matrix Lit POP Award for fiction and the Malahat Far Horizons Award for poetry. Jill lives on Gabriola Island, BC.