At first, I thought I was born to do this.

It took a while to realize

that mole was not, in fact, just a mole.

Who cares, that I was kidnapped as a child,

and ended up working in a distant relative’s palace?

It was only preparation for now.


Now, I do not hack at the vines;

I push them aside, using

discarded bones as stakes

to help them reach above the snarl

for sunlight.

I have forgotten my purpose

for being here--forgotten you--

in favor of these roses

that I am certain will bloom

given enough care.

I forage deeper into your forest, breaking

a path leading to your gate.


The vines by the front gate are impossible to unknot.

They grow wrong, a deep

blood-red with marrow-pale thorns.

They twist and wind through suits of armor

and ribcages, tendrils peeking out of

empty, staring eyesockets.

I fetch my shears.

Every good gardener must prune

and weed out the sick plants.


I have cleared the vines away

from the front gate of your castle.

I can see your window from here,

your living hair hanging out the window,

tangled by the wind with birds nesting in it.

I won’t wake you.


I have trained the roses into a maze.

I have rescued crowns

from its depths, and swords and spears

find new life as pickets and trellises.

When will they quit hacking at the blossoms?

None of them are bright enough to see the design;

None of them are worthy to wake you.


The roses by the gate are more monstrous than ever.

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