INSTINCTS #30: ‘A Costly Mistake’ By Maria S. Picone

Hi everyone! Please enjoy some new poetry from regular Insignia Stories contributor, Maria S. Picone.

This post shares 2 poems, ‘ A Costly Mistake’ and ‘At the Elementary School Field’.

A Costly Mistake

Maria S. Picone

She escaped the dark sorcerer

who sought her schoolgirl soul

by hiding in her skincare bottles:

pure essence of Jeju Island water,

tonic of fermented snail. She turns

their homeland scents sour—

expired, like her. The sorcerer buys 

a skincare fridge for her to chill

out in. She soothes incorporeal flesh 

in luxury toner. Won by won,

she’ll bleed her killer for revenge.

POEM (2)

At the elementary school field,


other kids

depart for hagwon;

Soccer Gwisin shoots goals


Maria S. Picone/수영 is a queer Korean American adoptee with an MFA from Goddard College. She has been published in Fractured Lit, Little Blue Marble, and others including Best Small Fictions 2021. Her work has been supported by Lighthouse Writers Workshop, GrubStreet’s Novel Generator, VONA/Voices and Kenyon Review. She is Chestnut Review’s managing editor, associate editor at Uncharted Magazine and an SFPA and SFWA member. Find out more at, Twitter @mspicone.

Maria will have a story featured in our annual collection, Best of Asian Speculative Fiction 2022, coming in December.

Want to see your Asian speculative poetry featured here? Check out our Submissions Page!

Featured Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

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