Brothers, say justice was done,
and the Queen a tinkle of mirror in a torrent of shards
and the apple pedlar hissed to her doom in hyperbole’s whirl.
Say Snow White is asleep.
And the page has turned on root-ripped fissures in the path,
and her branch-clawed weskit, skirt and flying hair intact,
and my granddaughter’s cheek
a cool tulip petal against my arm.
Brothers, it’s dwarves she asks about.
And I, I breathe the bedtime clean-child fragrance in her hair,
and Jacob, Wilhelm, say there were once children
working mines. Stunted, red-eyed, noses black with soot, you
named and cleaned and quainted to people your lore.
Brothers Grimm. She’s five. And how would we speak
of children in the pitchy earth, longing for sky
above black firs and sunlight sifting through forest glades?
And by my side a sweet slight weight leans into
the soul of me and warmth seeps through my ribs.
And twilight piques our bedside rug, the ancient art
of warp and weft. Say childish fingers ply the jewelled strands
in age-old tribal ways. And on the footboard hangs a size 4
pale-blue bunny robe, from someplace where
small hands learn callouses in warehouse gloom.
Say padlocks close that door. But Grimms, she’s five,
and close to sleep. Say Once upon a time.
Say Happily ever after.