The Cursed

Day 21
Poem 21

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was about fairytales, so obviously I had to do it. The point was to write about one of the minor characters in the story. I ended up settling on Sleeping Beauty, since there’s a lot of collateral damage in that story. I always remember the boy who was about to get his ears boxed when the curse hits, so I started with him. The poem is in two parts, although I haven’t decided if I want to have them both from his point of view or if I’m using another character.

The Cursed
On the day the world stopped I was bad.
I teased the girls and scattered the chickens and spilled
the morning porridge. I can’t remember
why I did those things, why I was bad.
Annie grabbed me by the collar and raised her hands.
Nothing. At first I thought she’d boxed my ears so hard
I couldn’t think. This time she must have rattled
my brain from my skull. She raised her hands.
She froze. I wondered if I had some sort of magic
to stop her when I braced for pain. But nothing
moved, no one, not even me. I couldn’t duck away.
I wouldn’t be trapped if I had some sort of magic.
It took days before I remembered the legend.
I couldn’t open my mouth to ask the older ones why.
The story began before I did. I’d never seen the princess.
It had nothing to do with me, this scarce remembered legend.
For 100 years nothing changed but the briar.
It barred the windows, blocking out all sense of day.
Sleep is hard when you’re trapped mid-moment
without benefit of a bed. Thorns, growing
through the windows. I can’t say when, don’t recall
the shattering. It reached down the walls, crawling
ever closer, terrifying slow. I measured its progress
in floorboards. My turn, it pooled at my feet.
The day the world started, it started with sound.
Footfalls were foreign to me now, heavy with armor.
Whatever was coming had to be better than nothing.
Rescue or death, I’d take either over the bone-tired
body that held me. And the prince, his sword
could break through vines, pierce through me.
If only he had come for me, perhaps his kiss
might wake me. But princes don’t see me,
hard to remember after a century beside royalty,
equally frozen. There are no rules in this kingdom
of sleep, but he isn’t of this land. He passed me,
found the stairs. Silence once again. And then,
all so fast, breath.


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