The silence woke her. Beyond the locked door

by now her maids should be chattering

in that harsh tongue. She went to the window.

Even the gulls on the battlements were mute.

And no guards on the ramparts, nobody

in the bailey. The straits were the colour

of the emerald at her neck – her father’s

wedding gift. A barque moved edgily

through the sands. Its pennants spoke of home.

The island’s coast was clear in the sun.

She imagined the light summer wind

stirring its fecund, strategic fields.

Her door was unlocked, opened and flung wide.

The Prince held a red cloth. “Cover your eyes.”

As she tied the cloth in place, he said,

“‘Who can find a virtuous woman?”

He put his hand in the small of her back,

steering her from her chamber into his,

impelling her to the window. She felt

the gentle air from the valley, inhaled

the woods and the river. He pulled the cloth

hard from her head.  Eyes shocked wide in death,

her lover hung from a gibbet. She watched

the body move this way, that way; listened

to the rope creak; turned to her husband.

“Until I die, I shall count the years

I will have loved him as a benison.”



Note: this piece has been subsequently published in ‘A Jar of Sticklebacks’ – http://www.armadillocentral.com/general/a-jar-of-sticklebacks-by-david-selzer and posted on Third Sunday Blog Carnival – http://thirdsundaybc.com/2012/04/.





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  1. #1 by Ashen - August 12th, 2013 at 18:21

    One of my favourites 🙂

  2. #2 by John Huddart - September 2nd, 2013 at 22:37

    And mine! How do you do smiley faces? No matter – that princess wouldn’t have been making them.

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