BRIAR ROSE

In days of yore, a king and queen
grew sick at heart and longed for more
than wealth can bring.  “A girl or boy,”
they both prayed quietly—then rushing
past their joy, inside a witch’s hut,
let tarot cards decide their luck.
Skies grew dark then lightning struck
that aged oak beside the witch’s hut—
for fate falls hard on those who pluck
forbidden fruit.

Pan came without spring, his song a taunt—
Danced with dry leaves, on hoof, with lute—
That hateful tune of rose’s briar—
That dreadful tale in cloven strides—
Bushy limbs nimble to the lyre and gyre.
And the owl’s eyes grew wide with seeing,
weary with seeing, till the spell took root,
and forests conquered kingdom and castle,
and the old wings flapped off to the moon.

crumbing castle . . .
in a closet, in a shoebox,
glass slipper

Anna Cates

BRIAR ROSE

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