Briar Rose (the Sleeping Beauty)
You can’t imagine living with a curse.
My parents feared each man or woman who
came to our castle; smashed all spinning wheels
from north to south. The punishment was death
for owning one—and they enforced that law.
We paid too much for cloth since we were forced
to import it. And there were darker things.
Sometimes a girl who sewed my clothes would leave
a pin stuck in her dress or in her hair
the way seamstresses do when they are in
the midst of sewing for convenience’s sake.
They were dragged out and hanged. No plea could change
my father’s judgement or my mother’s stern
agreement. They all died within the hour—
eight seamstresses who smiled bringing me bright,
fresh-sewn clothing but had forgotten how
the law said anyone who brought a pin
or needle near to me would be condemned.
At night, safe in my room, I wept and raved,
hoping Maleficent (the witch who cast
the spell) would come so I could speak with her.
I would consent to what she had decreed.
I’d fall into a sleep. The castle walls
would be covered with thorns, the ground with tares,
and desolation settle as a sign
the curse had come without my virgin blood
spread on the spindle of a spinning wheel,
red as the rage I felt, sharp as the cries
of those eight maidens murdered in my name.
David W. Landrum‘s poetry and fiction have appeared in journals in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Europe. His novellas, Strange Brew, ShadowCity, The Last Minstrel, and Le Cafe de la Mort, are available through Amazon.