Issue No. 12, Spring 2015

Ruth Daniell

From my tower window the garden glossy
as glass, a cathedral window laid
flat in his courtyard. Up close, the roses thick
with prayer: I want to go
But what that was
was newly changed, disfigured
as his face, its sad magic. The castle
with no mirrors or still water because he
could not stand to see himself reflected
but there was water unquiet in the garden
pools and everywhere roses slow and
deep as honey. The castle granted me every wish
almost before I thought it, except the one
he then gave me: I left him for my father’s house,
thinking it was still home, but returned
to the castle knowing different, searched for it
in every room, knowing somehow he was
dying from my absence—

After the wedding,
I used to wonder if the match
would have been the same if it had been him
tasked to hear past the enchantment—if
it had been my voice stuck in the throat
of a beast, my requests for love rumbling
out like threats. I could not hear past my own
prayers at first, the roses muttering after
me, but I came to understand his heart
invisible through the eyes he wore as an animal,
wished I could know he would have done the same
for me when I had been so easy to love, so visible
in the ornate gowns the ladies-in-waiting
insisted upon. That day I found him almost
dying in the garden, I wore my heart
in my human eyes, on my sleeves—
sewn in diamonds across my bodice,
rustling down my skirts
like rain beading off a stem.

Ruth Daniell is a Canadian writer who was named the winner of the 2014 Young Buck Poetry Prize by Contemporary Verse 2 and is a current nominee for the Pushcart Prize for poetry published in One Throne Magazine. Originally from Prince George, BC, she now lives in Vancouver, where she teaches speech arts and writing at the Bolton Academy of Spoken Arts and runs Swoon, a literary reading series on love and desire that she founded in 2013. Her poems and stories have appeared or are forthcoming in various journals across North America and online.