THE FOX PRINCE COURTS THE GARDENER'S ELDEST DAUGHTER
Should I be sorry at your deep, intense regret?
We cannot meet. Another day. The hens scratch,
red-and-gold, back-and-forth. Your heels
on the wood floor like the clacking of a rotary phone,
dialing into the dusk, saying sorry, sorry.
At the end of your sentence, you look
like a child again, the small fletching
of a smile against your cheek. You're really
very certain. Look, I'm trying to keep quiet,
but you say your memory is getting vaguer
and vaguer. What color was the coat you chose
for me to wear to church? Blue or orange?
The tabby strokes himself and strokes himself.
What was it you made for us to eat; the beautiful
pie-crust, blackberries bubbling, a stew of rabbits,
cherry wine? When you were nervous,
where did your fingers go? To the conch-shell lamp
with its spooky hula dancers. You'd switch them on
and off as you spoke. Look, you don't have to pretend
to forget. I'll allow as how it might be strange,
the reddish fur on all your pretty things. You say it's noon
and the moon has finally stopped eating her bowl of beets.
You say you're reading a book about Spain, and the soldiers
keep calling you ma petite. Please. I'll let you goŚ
out through the silence, the white-haired house munching
down on itself, a crumb-cake, the flattering figure you cut
in the blue dress and hat, there by the door nodding,
smiling, thinking, please don't come here anymore.
Hannah Craig lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Her work has recently appeared in 32Poems, Cranky, and Smartish Pace.