Queen of Hearts
The Queen is beating around
her bushes, yelling to the tens and fives:
Quick! quicken the blooms, redden the forlorn
bleachy roses, their thorny teeth, their clichéd form!
The rogue hedgehogs
tuck and roll, avoiding blush feathers
and mineral beaks, unlucky beasts
break for the bushes.
At night she unlaces
her corset, sloughs off exhausted gowns
in hues carmine, rubicund and scarlet.
She sips a neat sip. The blackness
of the Queen’s night is
eternal moonless sea floor
inside of mammalian heart
a silken slick machine
the Queen is dreaming of a loon
once heard in the Yukon
on a lake so remote
no one had ever named it.
She dreams of losing sleep
to the sound of a woman
losing her head.
The Queen is taking a shower. She thinks of Shakti,
thinks of her boys. Little Jack of Roses. Ganesh
guarding the door. Shiva with his sword. The forest,
the first beast. Little gods. And how they grow.
Outside, a tree in flames. The mountains breathing
a haze of smoke, even now. Earth tilting slightly
to the left. Alice in a gingham dress, blue checks.
Checker board to card deck. Toppled white kings.
Shooting up in the ruins of empire. The Queen is, after all,
Queen of Hearts. She feels it all. Her heart encompasses,
compass rose, lily of the valley. Precious and deadly.
Lace of white and red over blue ink. A whale,
a spray of carrot flowers. Today, the shotgun must
be cleaned. It’s rabbit stew Tuesday. Fires to the West,
Florence to the East. A thunderous applause. Indra
or Zeus or Thor. Everyone has a god for that. Everyone
has a story about human greed and a flood. The Queen
licks the blood from her blade. What we believe in
is magic. What we believe is that our children are ready.
We have taught them to look for beauty. They have learned
to unleash their tempers. They will survive