Sunday, September 2, 2012



i was sold to the devil for gold 1.
i gave up my hands for my father 2.
i gave up his wealth to go wander 3.
i gave up my freedom
for one gold skinned pear 4.
i gave up my child for a changeling 5.
i gave up my life for my child 6.

i gave up my kingdom for forests 7.

i gave up my king for an angel 8.
i gave up my hands made of silver 9.
for hands made of flesh, made of bone

1. the devil had braided haunches stuck with burrs, steely hooves, a tail like a bramble and horns bursting forth from his forehead as if they hurt him. he saw me by my father's apple tree, pink and white as apple blossoms, and wanted to take a bite.
2. the devil would have killed my father when he would not give me up so i offered my hands instead. the devil cut them off at the wrist with a cleaver. my own tears stopped the bleeding and the stumps healed up like doorknobs.
3. my father became rich and offered me a room in his big house and a servant to clean and feed me, forever like a child. but instead i set off into the world with a sack on my back and my two polished stumps.
4. in a gated garden i saw a pear tree. on it hung a pear the color of spun gold. my mouth watered--i had not eaten in a day. i stood on tiptoe to reach it with my mouth. the king saw me and took me in. he was rich and handsome with large appendages. he forged me hands of silver because a king cannot marry a girl with missing parts. i became his wife.
5. the devil stole my child and put in his place an elflocked fae.
6. in order to save the changeling i had to leave in exile, never to return.
7. with my child i came into the forest redolent with sap and mulch and the dark trickle of secret waters among the roots. here we found an abandoned cottage made of willow branches and here we lived.
8. the angel who found us here is tall as a tree and his hands are like wings. his skin is dark of hue. his smile a pearl necklace. he has no money in his pockets. he has no pockets. he brought me pears and water. he helped me feed my child.
he loves my strange-eyed boy, changeling or not.
9. the angel wept upon my silver hands
and they became
hands of flesh and bone


  1. Spark

    So with 7 billion souls
    in the rear view mirror
    what happens to the population
    of angels?

    Or how about tuna? Or tigers. And corn.
    Now there are 14 billion grasping hands
    (minus a couple) with 70 billion fingers
    (counting the thumbs) so how many plots
    need digging when we finish
    the last bit of breath and toast
    before this life spark that comes from

    where does it come from, again?
    that spark - was it pulsing in some earthworm
    tunneling rich loam in support of a french fry?

    I haven't crumbled moist soil between my fingers
    for years we haven't played in mud
    preferring starry hotels to dirty hands
    and the drive-up window to ninety nights
    waiting for harvest. We let others dig for us
    out of sight, pulling the spark from land
    without putting it back, much
    but that still doesn't answer where extra angels come from;
    haven't heard from mine, at least
    I should try digging, maybe
    they're stretched thin, covering so many people.

    Or maybe there's an asteroid where they grow, somewhere
    in the heavens there's a crop waiting for the spark
    to keep growing fingers instead of fins
    but when I was ten and already falling
    away from the church in part because I knew
    contrary to what I was told, dogs *do* have souls,
    don't they have guardians, too?
    So maybe we raided their angel supply
    which explains what happened to the last Javanese rhino
    and all the elephants.

  2. books, baskets, buckets
    of water and leaves
    balanced on the top of an angel’s
    head no hands to hold
    in prayer her head bowed
    and all her hard work scatters
    slow motion to the ground
    her expression is blank, hopeless
    she holds up her arms to the sky
    her watery eyes closing
    it rains in the autumn like spring
    leaves fall, dampen and pages
    covered in black tea and coffee
    go unread, but loved
    for their unspoken poetry

  3. Rain pours, thunder rolls and the stone comes alive
    Without blinking, without touching I try to run by,
    past the angel of stone, reaching, moving
    without me knowing
    growing closer and out of fear
    I switch eyes, twitching, wanting to feel the
    refreshing clearness blinking can provide and
    I remember a science show I watched once that
    had these same creatures and I remember him, that
    mysterious Doctor, telling me not to blink
    and to run.

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  5. They put her on the ground
    like a beast
    tearing not just her dress
    leaving no way to
    scream out loud and say
    Father, Father, save me
    avenge me please

    couldn't eat the food
    her father prepared for her
    without being fed like a
    baby doll,
    or crawling on the floor
    like a dog, burying her face
    in her feast.

    Would you
    could you smile
    while they dress, undress you
    sit you up at the table
    in your pretty dress
    to drink tea?

    Would you snarl
    like a dog,
    a beast, a broken thing,
    eating raw meat
    with blood on your
    sharp teeth.

    Would you smile
    as your father strangled you

    or would you fight.