Friday, 8 January 2021

Ever Aftermath: the Marriage

by Carol Clark Williams

When mother was dead, father finally asked my sister,
“Why didn’t you tell me she was beating you?”

My sister responded:
“How could you not know?”

The king was in the counting house, doing his accounting.
The king was buying his new Chrysler.
The king was drinking with his buddies,

fishing in his motorboat,
away on business, playing honky-tonk guitar
with his brothers in the den.

Taking his children, the mother fled into the forest
where a house made of gingerbread—
Wait. No. Those children were alone.

Taking the children she fled into a room where
a spinning wheel with a tainted spindle—
No, that can’t be right.

Taking her children she fled into religion,
where she could pass them through a hole in god’s stomach
and drop them in the fire.

Taking the children she fled into a fury,
beat them with a belt, seized them by the ears,
banged their heads against a window pane.

The king said he did not realize
his wife was a witch who cast end spells
on his darling children

while he was busy looking the other way,
as, according to tradition, most men do.

* * * * *

"Ever Aftermath" first appeared in Reclaiming Our Voices, published by Community Arts, Ink.

Carol Clark Williams is poet laureate emerita of York, Pennsylvania and a Pushcart nominee. Her work has won state, local and national awards, and she is widely published online and in print. Her favorite occupation is teaching poetry workshops.

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