a weekly of fantastical poetry





Things you would pack when taken hostage.

by Bethany Powell


If you were a princess:
a kerchief, perfumed,
chocolates,
and a favorite comb.

But you are not.
And you take your dog-whistle
—The wolves and grimwyrs hate it.

Your beat-up pen-knife
that hides in the lining of your dad's old woodman boots.

Dried mushrooms and salt, to heal any ill-met meat.
Long underwear, and down-coat instead of a bedroll.

They know you can't kill them with it, so they'll let the knife pass.
The mushrooms they suspect and leave on the floor—
the salt they "keep with theirs".

Ask, why the bag of rags. You just give them the long look of a woman.

"Don't you want your pillow?"
Yes, but also you want to take your bed. Take your parents' protection
and your grandmother's cauldron.

"I have everything I need," you say, repacking your woollen socks.

Is it true?
No.
But the only thing you can save is yourself.
Your pack is light, but it reminds you who you are.

You carry a forbidden map,
tucked against the skin over your heart.



September 24th, 2012



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