A hundred years of dreams —
I would not have given up an hour
of those shifting landscapes, the tower, the lagoon
the rough roses making a cradle around my bed.
for me and for everyone else I know
while behind my wincing eyelids I absorb
my parents' recklessness.
We wanted the best for you, they'll tell me:
all those girlish virtues
a pretty face and figure, kindness to the poor
the ability to sing and play the spinet.
Inviting the colors of the rainbow to my Christening,
spraying me with holy white light,
they locked out one color of the spectrum
the darkness that absorbs it all
and I blame my father. Maleficent came to his birth
just as surely as she did to mine:
the difference is that everyone knew her then
when her name was Poverty and Need
and the guests all bowed their heads. In our day,
my birthday, no one expected her.
Evil, they called her. I call her
Resentment. Fury. Locked away, I dream
and no one tells me what to do.
No one breaks in. And when a stranger offers me a spindle
glistening, sexual, I sink into the pillows
and remember the worst has already happened:
I have survived death and turned it into sleep
and a dream lasting one hundred years.
When I wake
I will know my lover's face.
About the Author: Debra Cash is a poet and arts critic based in Boston, Massachusetts. Her work regularly appears on public radio and in newspapers and magazines. This poem was inspired by the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty.
Copyright © 2000 by Debra Cash. This poem may not be reproduced in any form without the author's express written permission.