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Malachite

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Long, long ago, and far away!
I lived my life in a great deal of pain
In a castle by the blue bay
Made of gleaming pyrite and green malachite
That glowed even in the night.

I was born to a Mother that adored
Beauty and abhorred
The birthmarks that adorned my face.
Reds and browns and whites
Resembling a vase of clay.

She would always say
If She looked upon my face
She saw what could have been
If I had not been.
And so I hid it in a mask of porcelain.

The Queen of the land!
The Woman with the world in Her hand!
The Woman with the daughter
Who was nothing like Her.
Whose face made Her spite her.

I was smart, had read
More books than She had hairs on Her head.
She cared not.
I could remember anything I’d seen,
Everything anyone said.
She cared not.
She cared not about what lay beyond spots.

I slowly got older, and thus bolder.
I put the mask in the cupboard
Once or twice in a month’s course.
Walked around the gardens, silently shouting,
“This is my face! How do you like me now?”
And watched as everyone ran and cowered.

The Dearest Queen, blessed is She,
Took upon Herself the task of
Ridding Herself of me
Said “Do not fret, little pet, I will find one to marry thee,”
More for Her than for me.

She cried,
“Bring me one who has no fear!
Who thinks they can stand the sight of her face.
Bring me one who will not sneer
And to my daughter I will make their case,”

A year came and went
Without the appearance of the right heart.
All who tried ran to hide.
All who came took my Mother’s side
On the issue of my marks.

On the third day of the third month of the year after that,
On the third hour
Appeared a tall, whimpish man in a tall hat
Who looked as sick as a wet cat.
Whose eyes were colored like the malachite of the walls.
Who, despite his frailty, claimed some great power
With some great gall.

Doesn’t that just beat it all?
If you hit him with a battering ram, he claimed he would not fall!
Doesn’t that just beat it all?
As long as I was kind, he claimed, he could not be appalled!
Doesn’t that just beat it all?

Quickly, Mother set for us to meet.
Later that very day, in the garden,
Did we begin to find the man rather sweet.
I took off my porcelain; he took a look,
And said, “Dear me, do pardon,
I see no flaws on your precious head.”
Mother planned for us to wed.

And in the night before that wedding date,
I couldn’t sleep, walked the grounds, though it was late.
And on my walk, I was surprised to find
I had stumbled upon that fiancée of mine.
And in his hands he did hold
The throat of a bunny, dripping blood and turning to gold.

Oh lord, he did have a power,
But also the demeanor of a coward.
Over a harmless thing, he would tower
And hurt and murder.
I cared for him no further.

And when I walked down the aisle,
And got to the man I did not smile.
When asked if he would do
Those things husbands are meant to do
He said the two words I didn’t believe were true,
“I do.”

Then came my turn, I looked into the malachite eyes,
Saw cruelty and lies,
And I felt my heart was made of stone.
I felt shivers down in my bones.
“I don’t.”

There was a silence,
And then there was anger in my Mother and in the man,
In both of them was a great violence.
And then I ran!
Bolted toward my room
And locked the door.
There was the knocking boom,
I heard Her scream “Come out!
You are not welcome here any more!”

From the cupboard, I pulled my porcelain out
For the last time.
Smashed it on the ground,
“No longer will I hide behind your perfect lines.”
Opened the door, and to Her face I said
“I won’t be bound by your perfect lines anymore.”
And then walked out the front door.

The man I was to marry,
He had to be sustained
By things weak and pained.
And so he died, without me to marry
And trap and contain.

Truly,
I have learned from my time in that palace,
A lesson that rules all of life:
Beauty,
When interpreted with malice,
Becomes a lie.




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