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by Alexandra Seidel

The Mother:
You will love me forever.
I fed you
before you knew what food was.
I sheltered you with my warmth
before you knew cold existed.
You will love me forever
even if you hate me.

The Lover:
A mother's love is not enough for a heart to grow.
Peaches do not grow forever, they ripen,
and when they're ripe, they are meant to be tasted.
You grew among golden fields;
you cannot stay in that kind of sun forever
and not burn.

The Mother:
He has darkness in him, he smells
like butterflies pinned under glass.
His charm will dye your golden hair and suck
all color from your face.
The embers of yours and his fire will die
like a blackbird heart cooling under February snow.
If you go with him, I will teach you the meaning of cold.

The Lover:
You cannot be ruled forever.
Children are only ruled forever if
they remain as children forever.
Yet your youth is not eternal;
your beauty is, in my eyes,
but like all the things that live,
it will be your privilege to die
and be cradled, be embraced beneath
that golden earth.

The Mother:
Eyes like cold bone he'll give you,
far away from the golden light of the sun
and the tenderness of barley fields!
You will love me forever
even if you hate me,
and you will sneak out of his char house
to see me when he sleeps like tulips sleep
even if you think loving him will be enough.
But it won't be.

The Lover:
You will see light like you never saw it before;
there will be shadows
and they will be like living things,
like breathing souls cut from brittle glass.
You grew up to think a seed, a sapling
were the most precious things,
but there are wonders living in the darkness
and I will show you.
Your eyes will bloom like fire.

The Mother:
A mother knows.
His kisses will birth a wicked pain inside you.
You will miss the sun
as seen through an oak leaf.
But a mother knows:
A million words from me
could not ward you against
the cannon ball hits of his kisses.
A mother knows:
You want to love him.
You will hate me.
You will remember
that you still love me, forever.

* * *

Alexandra Seidel dabbles in the alchemy of words. The results are less metallic, more inky: you can read them at places like Lackington's, Mythic Delirium, Strange Horizons, and others. If so inclined, you can follow Alexa on Twitter (@Alexa_Seidel) or read her blog:

What advice do you have for other poets?

Read, but if you are here, you’re probably already doing just that. I have two more things that might help you. First, make lists. For example, list all the things you might find in a witch’s purse or all the things people can forget on a train. Second, some word association; look at the lists you made before and use those words, or pick something else.


Sef said...

I like this! A nice reimagining of the old story...

Yonathan Asefaw said...

Great work!