Tuesday, April 19, 2011

18 of 30

One careless word from the father, that bristling bear,
and the boys are all turned into blackbirds,
the daughter given in marriage to
the monster that saved you in the woods
or the baby given over to godfather death.

If your mother buries your bones
in the backyard, you will come and sing, and
drop a grinding stone around her neck,
if I lose you in the woods you will breadcrumb home
with blood on your hands
if you meet with a poison apple or a spindle
or lose your shoes, or fall asleep
or dance with dead boys till your clothes are rags
or any one of a million misfortunes
someone will come
and kiss your body back from blue sleep.

Parents dance at weddings in iron shoes,
roll down hills in barrels full of nails,
have their bellies stitched shut full of stones
those wolves and grandmothers and giants

even happy kings lose their daughters,
and their kingdoms, to wandering foolish boys
with pockets filled with beans and flutes
with talking cats and singing swords
and all manner of unlikely gimcrackery.

Every task and test and riddle I'd set
(even scratching out his eyes
and setting him wandering in the desert
even locking him in the tower with the dead men,
even sending him to hell itself to sell his salt,
to the end of the world, to the war, to the stable,)

cheated with fairies and the devil's mother and
whatever it takes, to steal the child away,
to the hollow hill, to the hidden lake,
to the other side of the mountian of glass,
to the castle of thorns and iron.

Swans and crows and goosefeathered brothers
the dutiful daughter , the dimwitted son, the tailor,
the soldier, the foolish heros
all fly,
all fly
all fly
over the hills and far away,

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