Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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I won’t start with once
upon a time. Because that’s the whole

story isn’t it, lovely as she was
with her hair like honey? She bled

alone on the bed when he’d left
and the queen set her to work threading

needles in the dark. She saw
what she shouldn’t have: beauty

in the place of a serpent and that’s when
she learned regret. The three drops

of tallow on his skin or the moment
the weather changed and she wished

for wings. Then a dress of rags
and the rough stones of the brook.

The whiskered fish and the trees
casting their dark shadows. I won’t

start with once—the girl
on the bed, bleeding—the task of dowsing,

the long search for the mouth
of the underworld and the lover

with his scent of appleflesh and musk.
The time it takes to turn

away—one breath—and her body
clenched around its knot of hunger.    

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