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The Dairy Maid Waits a Hundred Years


The Dairy Maid Waits a Hundred Years
by Sandi Leibowitz

It’s not a deep sleep, no.
From time to time my eyelids
flutter just enough to open on
the cow’s dumb flank,
the stream of milk heading
from udder to pail
but never arriving.

Just as my hand never satisfies
the hundred-year itch
plaguing my nose
that I was on the way to scratching
when the princess pricked a finger
and hurled us all spellwards.

Oh, laugh at my expense.
It’s easy from where you sit
comfy in Time’s plush-cushioned carriage,
traveling forward with no effort.
I didn’t ask to live
in someone else’s pretty tale,
picturesque as livestock in a landscape
—worse, a joke.

I rouse from dreams
remembering that at home
I’ve butter to churn
and bairns to feed,
and Lord, Lord, a husband
who’ll need ten years to unknot
the shoulders sore from
a century of chopping wood.

* * * 

Sandi Leibowitz has been the Sands Point Hag, an editorial assistant for a medical magazine, a classically-trained singer, a fundraiser ghostwriting for a Monsignor, and a school librarian.  In addition to collecting degrees and bits of Victoriana, she writes speculative fiction and poetry, which may be found in Mythic Delirium, Goblin Fruit, Strange Horizons, Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year vol. 5, and Metastasis, an anthology of speculative fiction and poetry about cancer.  She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net award.

What inspires you to write and keep writing?

I have always loved words.  I was the nerdy kid who relished English assignments like making up sentences that used a given list of adjectives.  As a pre-teen and teen I used to type out favorite poems and passages from novels on my mother's old manual typewriter.  I love the look and sound of words, the way they can move you to tears, incite you to anger, or simply render you breathless.  I have always loved story.  And I have always wanted to be a writer.  It is indeed hard, sometimes, to keep at writing.  I'm beginning to publish a fair amount but it wasn't always so (and in fairness, I didn't submit much; it was hard enough to find the time to write!).  Even so, the rewards are not life-changing.  People do not toss roses before my feet as I stroll down the street.  I don't even think they do that for the likes of J.K. Rowling or Steven King.  What keeps me going is the desire to write the sorts of things I'd like to read--to give the inner dreams life and maybe even wings.

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