Janet never rocks her child. Her crèche
sits on sturdy legs, to keep the baby
close to the earth. She must resist the pull
of the father’s people, that fey wobble,
that hover. His dust still hangs in the afternoon sun,
She remembers the rain, the white steed,
the rider: how she wrapped herself
around him, felt the magic tremble
in the soul in her womb. She has had enough
She drapes her babe in the green
of fiddleheads in oak shade, huddles, hidden,
hearthside. She prays to a new god. She stands
by the cook-pot, the corners of her bare feet
solid on the stone, cuddles her child,
- - -
II. The Fairy Queen
The Queen of Fairies spins like a top,
pingpongs. Spring cleaning.
Dust upon dust. Her jewels
are dirty, and no amount of rubbing
can make them shine.
Her heart is a hard red bean that will never sprout.
There is gruel in her belly. In her head,
the massed buzz of every bee whose thorn
she has pressed into a man’s flesh
under her dainty foot.
She watches her face in the rain barrel,
sees the shimmer like love, shudder
across her white brow.
She gazes out to the road, looks for him,
believes yet again
that he can change.
- - -
Janet’s daughter has old eyes.
She sees the row of white birches
at the edge of the wood, where dark forest
meets plowed soil.
All of her line is gone, like the top of the oak is gone,
snapped in an ice storm: the body still blooms,
and, below, a memory of old water.
Something will never be made right.
She digs her hands into the soil, like roots.
She thirsts, like the cat, broods,
like the dove, wonders, like the hound.
She is never quite at home.
Naked, in the rain, she wraps herself in nothing.
Nothing hides her. Nothing comforts her.
Nothing keeps her warm.