Cora's Verse

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The fruit turned to ash in my mouth
My jaw became heavy and unmovable and
I fell as stone to the cold dust floor
My pale hand still grasping poison
My mouth still open in a silent scream
But no one came.

Do you know?
Night falls with a heavy thump
– you can't ever hear it hit the earth
Unless you're frozen on the ground
Ear pressed to the floor
With nothing to do but
Listen.
Did you know?

And isn't it just wonderful!
to have seven brothers, each old enough to be your uncle
All gone as soon as you need them:
They didn't come home for a full day, then
Didn't notice my absence until supper, when
Philo tripped over me in the kitchen and screeched like a banshee.

Beni (my favorite) catapulted over the counter and breadknives
lifted my frozen head from the floor, dropped me in shock
Nym swore, That b****! (rhymes with witch)
Theo carried me to the dying red sofa where
Aster made sure I was breathing (I was)
Soph checked the Household Almanac for a diagnosis
Otto stood alone at the table, ignoring the world
And I slept, eyes open and still as glass.

My stepmother the Empress
Doesn't know that my brothers are human again
But she knows about me; she saw where I am;
And when I ate the toxic treat she offered
She never knew that I would have the care
Of seven former-swans now called men:


Theo and Soph used their alchemy to magic me up
An ivory casket to reside in
(which Philo promptly tripped over)
Nym and Aster used their arts to make it lovely
All carved over with words and petroglyphs
Beni prayed for me to get well soon
Otto ran away again, escaped the madness
And I, being the statue I was forced to be, waited, and watched.

On the third or fourth day of my imprisonment
Milo Emperor's son
Who would be half my brother if the previous Empress
my mother, hadn't had an affair with my father
(But she did
And here I am, with no technical relation to the Emperor himself),

Came calling to see if I was still alive (I was)
And, turning back to go report to his mother the Empress
Tripped, clumsy as Philo,
And knocked me from my ivory-and-glass bed
Onto the cold dust floor
Dislodging the bit of apple stuck in my throat
Allowed me to finally
Breathe.

Do you know?
Waking up from a spell
Is like waking up from a dream
You open your eyes, feel something soft fly from your grasp
And for just a moment you're incomplete without it.
Did you know?





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