Gold rose dust: a fairy tale


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?