gold rose dust: a fairy tale, 2002

they promise her a kiss, the twelve

fairies bending over her crib, a kiss to wake

her from her sodden sleep, a kiss to make

up for the weeping years, the loss

of sunrise in the mountains, water

dried to dust in fountains across

her courtyard; a consolation and a hope,

a rope to cling to as she swings through

the abyss, a kiss to wake the princess from

her sleep, to keep her safe and whole

in her chamber high above, a kiss for

love, and so, you know, she does not fear

when the witch beckons — “Come here,

my dear…” — she climbs the stair, her

golden hair trailing down, catching

dust, as she must, in the hundred years

to come; she pricks her thumb on the

spinning wheel, so quick, so slick, she doesn’t

feel a thing, and then she sleeps, to dream

of tender kings and wedding rings, the

wings of love to lift her up from where she

lay, but what is this? the sun sets in the west;

its dying rays illuminate two babes upon

her breast, a pair of twins whose eager

lips bring only pain to the tips…oh, what

is this, this is not bliss, what’s gone amiss,

oh say, twelve fairy godmothers, oh

say…was that a kiss?