Bluebeard Searches for a Bride
They flee from him
these tatter girls,
swift green eyes,
perhaps a glint of tooth.
In ones and twos they flee
flash of threesome, moresome
ducking into door and alley.
terror or flirtation?
They are so young,
large feet and too-soon breasts
He cannot say, they cannot say,
and that is half the fun.
It is springtime,
snow drips into sky and crocus.
His beard blows black
almost bluer than the halo
still lingering on night mountains.
Lips wet with concentration they take turns:
Then a little more!
Touch the coarse hairs, coarser than the strawy bracken
Leap! Before he snaps,
a scream of pain-on-joy.
Of course they fear his strangeness,
the bump of bones beneath his leathery hands
that tense to—lunge and grab!
But there is a kind of ember in him
that makes him beautiful,
a forest on the edge of lightning.
So they must press closer
even as they run
as girls do.
In this sunlight
Bluebeard rolls tectonic shoulders,
searches—grey eye to blue
to brown, to hazel, and the rarest green
for that May Day giddiness, yes, yes,
but even more, that teenage dreaminess,
that "I do!" trapped magnolia
shaking so hard to bloom in February,
little miss who will play house and hearth
with real, grown-up dolls.
He searches for the lean look of a bride
and if not,
a face that veils a gem-cut skull
will do just as well.
JoSelle Vanderhooft is the author of several poetry collections, including The Minotaur's Last Letter to His Mother (Ash Phoenix), Ossuary (Sam's Dot Publishing), Desert Songs (Cross-Cultural Communications, 2008), Tales Twice Told (Sam's Dot Publishing, 2008) and Death Masks (Papaveria Press, 2008), the novels The Tale of the Miller's Daughter (Papaveria Press) and Owl Skin (Papaveria Press, 2008) and a collection of short stories from Drollerie Press to be released in 2008. Her poetry and fiction has appeared online and in print in a number of publications, including Cabinet des Fees, Star*Line, Mythic Delirium, Mythic, Jabberwocky, The Seventh Quarry and several others.
copyright © 2008, JoSelle Vanderhooft