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  • Writer's pictureErin Clark

High Red

photo by Camelia Elias

My publisher is a witch who lives by the North sea. In Denmark, where The Little Mermaid was born, wanted forbidden love, was forsaken, and so she died and now she is writhing, soulless foam.

I have also wanted forbidden love, petitioned this very witch for it, was also forsaken, but stubbornly, I did not die. Wrote my soul (a writhing) into a book and now I petition her again: Would your press consider publishing my book?

She cautions me, as any good witch will do, “Be sure this is what you want.” They are small, unprepared for anything like a “bestseller.”

As any hopelessly romantic, adventurous mermaid doomed to a cursed fate, I am sure. “I want to be cherished, who will do that but you? —and I want all the film rights.”

“You shall have it. Give me your birth details, and high res pics of you flying.” Camelia, my witch, is designing the cover of my memoir by way of astrology.

“April 13th, 1981. I don’t have any high red of me flying

*res,” I un-auto-correct.


exactly that.


Glancing at your chart. I can see that your love life is utter rubbish. Oh well…”

I’m familiar with the configuration of my stars. I chuckle at her cavalier pronouncement. She is not squeamish around rubbish and that is power. Oh well, indeed. There are other things.

My hair is red, and I can fly. High Red. “The passion is incredible when I go for it.” I respond.

“Of course, but what gives you that is not Venus, the goddess of love and money, but your exalted Mars and sun.”

I am a lover

A warrior woman.

“I said, I bet Erin has an exalted Mars — as I like to bet on people’s Mars placement. I won.”

As I often do.

But not with Venus. Who is in her detriment. Meaning that it has



to act.

Venus is






Oh well…

Don’t worry, my Venus. I say to the planet outloud. I’m disabled, too. My life is in its detriment on the planet Earth, oh well…

photo by Camelia Elias featuring Frig

Speaking of astrology, Alice writes about essential dignities:

“Debilitation is a state of existence in which you are always viewed to be an outsider, where you must constantly prove your own existence, in places that were made to exclude you.”

I tell Camelia, “You must see my wheelchair. On the Mountain,”

I send her a photo of me and my chair situated in the rubble of Catalan ruins. I give her intensity-in-image to work with. She sends me a first attempt with a delicate font and my name in modest size like the author of a textbook. I go to sleep thinking: On the cover, my name needs to be in big, bold letters, and I wake up to


Chair, face, body, red hair, red lips.

Exactly that. Mars. Exalted.

Alice writes: “When you have a Venus that’s in Aries, that’s not a weak Venus. That’s a Venus that’s trying to engage with the abnormal and marginal.”

She flies— In her wheelchair. + fall



that’s not a weak Venus

“Planets that are dignified are also planets that are privileged. That planet will feel like it doesn’t have to invent anything in order to take up space,” Alice writes

“Can you put more spaces between the letters in my name so it s p r e a d s

further across the cover?” I ask.


“Planets in detriment don’t act like that.

Planets in detriment


have to

reinvent their existence

Because, without doing


They could not exist,” says Alice

photo by Camelia Elias

Camelia consulted my stars,

invoked the genius spirit of her mother —which is to say, she put genuine heart and ache into the design—

bound our two fates to my title,

And conjured

my astonishment.

I feel complete. Like I have gone

through the release

of the book

to the pinnacle

of a success

and, but,

No one else has seen it.

I ask her to take my book

in it's physical form

to the sea

and photograph it.

She sinks it into the sand,

as if it could feel the damp grains against it's pages.

As if it washed up out of the glittering waves

to be discovered by princes or witches.

A siren,

in abnormal,

but glorious form.

photo by Camelia Elias

If You Really Love Me, Throw Me Off the Mountain comes out September 1 and is available for preorder now! Click Here for ordering options!
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