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Crown of Bells

Crown of Bells
by Amanda C. Davis

If we had only known earlier--
We whisper on the linen, nose to cheek--
If we had guessed the witch for what she was,
If we had resigned before the mess began--

But a servant's no advisor,
And a cook's no fool.
Let the master handle his own witches.

So she did as she would
(As a witch always does):
She writhed into a fairy's form,
Slapped sorcery across his face,
Left us with a curse and a whirlwind
And the sting of sudden magic.

And then--
Ah, then--

The groping at the cobbles, crying our names--
Can you see me? Can you be seen?--
Then clutching arms familiar as the crying voices,
Grasping arms seeking invisible faces and garments,
Arms pretending it was night,
That we clung fast because we craved the touch
And not because we feared to let go.

Hard to get used to fingers you can't see.
We bruised our elbows on the furniture,
Broke our skin on the rose garden's thorns.
Harder still to scrub invisible blood.

My husband wears a crown of bells--
That was the master's idea, for a servant he cannot see--
Brass berries in his cockleburr hair.
I wear my bells around my neck,
Looping long between my breasts,
A vine of song.
We hunt them on each other's bodies
And the finding is not the reward.

He sounds the way he used to look,
And at the music of his motion
My unseen heart soars.

Our love sets bells to ringing.

If we had only known--

I'd never know the jingle of his breathing,
The chiming of his stride,
The brief and gentle shimmer when he smiles.

Let the beast seek his beauty,
The beauty seek her beast.

I have a man who wears a crown.

* * *

Amanda C. Davis has an engineering degree and a fondness for baking, gardening, and low-budget horror films. You can find more pieces like Crown of Bells in her collection with Megan Engelhardt, Wolves and Witches. She tweets enthusiastically as @davisac1. You can find out more about her and read more of her work at

What do you think is the most important aspect of a fantasy poem?

Poems are able to fill so many roles! The only aspect important to all of them is purpose. Know what your poem is doing and help it do that as well as possible. That will guide everything else.