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I have been a pauper
A dairy maid with no cow
A muse painted in whispers
Hair free and waist unbound, unafraid to touch the pearls of morning dew scattered across the windowsill, the lock plate, the waving grass
Rust a mere rumor then, like death
So far off, he may as well be in another country

I have been a duchess
Laced into gowns so heavy that even porcelain limbs
Know they must go slow, slow
Every jewel, every facet a creation unto itself
The bearer of a soul
Eyes veiled by the light of a thousand candles
So eager to see, to be seen, to create witnesses to a bright and precious spectacle
Blind from the want of it
Deaf to my own howling heart

I have whistled, and I have sung
And I have stomped my feet
I have thrown myself at the feet of others
Mistaking indulgence for love
And in the sleepless, yawning void of night
I have stood at windows and seen eyes
That were not my own reflected back at me
I have shattered so many things
In search of something that would let me grab hold of it with fingers wrought in iron
And not break

The trembling body of a dying bird
The love of a country

I have worn sunlight and smiles
(oh god my guts are dark with oil is this what it’s like to bleed)
I have danced and pantomimed and laughed in the light
(don’t let me wind down don’t lock the door)
I have glowed, glowed like a star even as I was left to unravel
Bucolic beauty
Balcony beauty
Lips kissed only by the moon, my soul a mirror reflecting every whispered vow and stolen glance
Ticking and grinding and hoping and dying
As I learned that love materializes as silently as dew on grass
That it creeps into the cracks of your life like frost

Rust is also silent

I have been a pauper and a duchess but
One thing has never changed
It is a simple fact that children do not truly love their toys
Until they lie broken on the floor
Only then do knotted kitchen rags become gowns made by fairy seamstresses
And cigar boxes full of tin men become kingdoms defended by the noble and pure
And stories invented just yesterday become quite fine, quite fine indeed
The stuff of legend

It was all so beautiful, wasn’t it?

We had such fun, didn’t we?

Adam Charette