The Locked Garden

i ate the bitter plant with the same lust i felt at wanting a child
gulping down handfuls of shredded leaves before the nausea hit again
the only thing i could stomach
my mouth and eyes watered, salacious i climbed the fence tearing my silken petticoats
i got down on my knees in the dirt scraping my chin with twigs
my knees embedded with pebbles
i would have eaten the moist earth too but my husband stopped me
he took me in his arms and brought me home but each night i escaped and went back
sucked on the plant, devouring

when my child was born with her long green hair smelling of leaves
and her leaf shaped eyes
the witch who owned that locked garden threatened me with death
if i did not give my daughter up
i refused ready to die in an instant rather than lose her
i'm a mother after all
i wondered how i could ever have loved a plant when i held my baby
with her tendril fingers

but again the king, my husband intervened and at twelve
she was gone
taken to the tower
a young woman with breasts as big as mine and long colt legs
skin like white roses that grow in witch's gardens
her hair a stepladder of green but not for me
everyone talks about her fate and the fate of the prince who saved her
but i'm the one who suffered the true loss
me with my rapacious hunger
i'm the one who made the gravest


  • Imogen Friday, 31 August 2012

    Wouldn't you want To step inside The witches g...

    Wouldn't you wantTo step insideThe witches garden?I bet her roses Fill your hands,Soft as his peltWith beast-claw thornsCurving, Going straight to your headTill you fall dizzy,Swooning.I bet her apples areWorth risking thePoison sleep, worthRisking the flaming swordThe expulsion.Red as blood,Golden enough toCrack Trojan walls whileTrojan women wail.The dewdrops ShineWhen the birds in her garden singWhy wouldn't you offerAnythingA kingdom, a crown, A daughter

  • Lulu Rose Thursday, 30 August 2012

    Old School (circa 1996, Writer's Craft Journa...

    Old School (circa 1996, Writer's Craft Journal, grade 13)Seven Times (a remake of Anne Sexton's)I was born seven timesin seven waysletting life give me a dream,letting imagination place her mark in my mind,float away, float away.And life took flight in that dream.In that dream i beheld a doveand I lifted it and was lifted by it.Oh Sky, hold me.I am a small cloud.Seven Times by Anne SextonI died seven timesin seven waysletting death give me a sign,letting death place his mark on my forehead,crossed over, crossed over.And death took root in that sleep.In that sleep I held an ice babyand i rocked itand was rocked by it.Oh Madonna, hold me.I am a small handful.

  • francescalia Monday, 27 August 2012

    loves this

    loves this

  • Jessa Marie Monday, 27 August 2012

    8. to my main man where is your soul, pops? where...

    8. to my main manwhere is your soul, pops?where is your soul?my mother looks like a sunflowerin the picture she gave youyellow smock topgreen cigarette pantssuch lovely stemsface beaming and open to the sunspringing from the concretelove in bloomso where is your soul now, pops?sometimes i see it trapped in old photosthe ones where you actually crackeda smileand your blue eyes wereclear skies orcool rainwatershowering mother sunflower with adoration(i'm on a train to a weddingthere is a billboard outside my windowa black grave markera single yellow rosedid you know i would see it?are you sending me a message?we chug along.)to my main man.that was what she wrote on the back of the pictureher handwriting was so clearthe perfect words.we found it in your walletstill intactas if you just forgot it herebut you'll be back tomorrowi am still a seeker of signs.to my main man,buried deepyou never answered my question(i am so prone to distraction)where, exactly, is your soul?i used to think it was floating inthe blankness of purgatorynever hellyou weren't that badma cracks jokes about your mistresses,our defense mechanisms are very similar)my religion teachers always told us to prayfor those who needed a little helpgetting to heaveni prayed.oh, i prayed.made extra signs of the crossto bookend my pleas--i mean prayers(oh, what's the difference?)so,did you get to the pearly gates or what?i'm so curiouswhat are they made of, anyway?bones dipped in enamel and glitter?baby teeth stolen from little grins?(is the tooth fairy an angel?are angels real?what about God?is she beautiful? maid, mother or crone? or isthat the true basis of the holy trinity?she is all three, isn't she?)i imagine the entrance to heaven to bea photo negative of the cemeterywhere black wrought iron gatesand fenceshouse the mortal coils(i want to say dead bodiesbut i don't even know if yourbody remains among the remainsi don't know much about that sort of thingmortal coils is an abstractioni can live with)or like the gate that my motherslammed shut to keep your charmsat bayan act of braveryself-preservation can be such hellhow many more prayers must i sayto get you home?since i'm a woman,are my prayers only worth three-quartersof a man's Our Fatheror is that just the american way?(does God care for pronouns?)i didn't mean to shortchange youbut you determined my gender(tricky, tricky science)your absence brought me to feminismthe youngest of an elitesisterhood of the traveling uterusmaybe i'll be in purgatoryfor protecting my bodymaybe i'm there right nowmaybe you aren't as far away as i thoughtyou can be my imaginary friendplaying at the corners of my mindi'll still be a feministthe gate surrounding my heartis unlockedcome on insunflowers are blooming.--from your main girl who will never forget you.

  • Teddi Sunday, 26 August 2012

    my childhood house had a wrought iron fence it was...

    my childhood house had a wrought iron fenceit wasn't for safety, only for decorationi remember the tops looked like arrowscemented into brickwhere i would look out, at cars passing while my brother would try to trap spiderswe had an open arch, with plants growing around it like a door between the sidewalk and the drivewaycemeteries have gates tooa separation between the living and the deadthe one near my old house became my oasisafter i nearly died, the 2nd timewe kind of discovered iton my walks for recovery around the neighborhoodwith someone near mecause i needed their body to lean onthere was a path onto a fieldon the right through the gravelbefore stepping on the wooden bridge over a pond, and under a weeping willowi would walk among the grassbetween headstones looking at names and datesthinking of the strangers i never knew making up stories about their livesi would talk about how i wanted to be cremated and my ashes to be planted with a new treefor i wanted life to begin in the event of my deathand perhaps maybe a bench for someone to sit upon

  • Molli Gould Sunday, 26 August 2012

    The graveyard gate black against the morning fog c...

    The graveyard gateblack against the morning fogcurls of metal decorate it, like solidified smoke rings and ivy with pointed leaves that could draw blood from the touch of a finger.She peers through the gate, squinting her eyes through the fog to make out the shadows of grave stones She sees the illusions and realities that the movement of fog and light make and something else moving, she cannot see, but her mind fills in with fantasy the absence her senses cannot place.As if from the fog itself, a dark figure appears, and the gate creaks open beckoning to her.In a daze she follows, dressed in the cloud of her transparent night gown dragging on the ground behind her.

  • Exitonpch Sunday, 26 August 2012

    One Small Step He passed the gate today. Neil Ar...

    One Small StepHe passed the gate today. Neil Armstrong soared and we followed, when we couldthough so many cage ourselves in rather than see what might lie beyond.I didn't see the moon or the earth as he dida fragile blue-green dot peeping through the starry blackor maybe I do since we learned (some of us) that the universe is much bigger than a few hairless apes.We can peer through the bars. We can see the birdsstill attached by gravity but able to, for a while, leap and cavort.Maybe that's what he did: allowed our spirits to flyeven though we know the inevitable.Do you know what field expands on the other side? What lingers in the fog? When will we be brave enough to close our predictionspass through the gateand let the cool, green scent of grass guide us?

  • Yajaira Sunday, 26 August 2012

    Far beyond the gate lives the witch her house on ...

    Far beyond the gate lives the witch her house on chicken legs her cauldron always bubbling ready for the next childit is said that long ago they banished her called her evil, thrown stoneswaging tongues say she bewitched menmade them lose their witsand only think of herI heard once that she had been a beautiful maidengraceful, intelligentmany suitors looked to claim her handbut she refused them alland that is when they began to hatethey hated and they hatedfought each other and spilled bloodthe other girls called her a demon and thats what sealed her fateI look through the gate that separates usI can almost make her outshe does not look so dreary as they promisebut quite contend to be the hagI secretly wish I can be like herfree to do as she pleasesfree of blame and guilt be the evil that is independentThe gate is meant to imprisonbut is she the caged or are we?

  • Krista Saturday, 25 August 2012

    i stare out a gate covered in webs and thorns and ...

    i stare out a gate covered in webs and thornsand guarded by black birds with black eyesi don't see much beyond trees blocking sky aboveand mist erasing the road that might lead me somewherethis is the first scene i sketch on my drawing padand i promise i'll find a way to unlock the lines,to find a new place to live, one outside the stone wallsso many negative thoughts, about forgetting the time or where i am, have built--i'll dig beneath or cut the chainor call to a curious prince riding on a grey horsewho will help me to the other side where i'll forget paperand draw on my skin--i'll draw the whole world

  • anaisbelieve Saturday, 25 August 2012

    this is not the comfort you sought this is disbeli...

    this is not the comfort you soughtthis is disbeliefyou wanted to taste all the flavorsbut fell victim to indescretionheaven became a machine todoze down pointing fingersyour chin up, you're trippingyour eyes opening with a romantic glazeconcussed you shiver whilepulling out your pardonsshe said she would forgiveif she was the better loveryour lips can tell a thousand lieswhile lapping up the oysterbut this is obviously not wellmet, my incredulous laugh at the attempt to entrance meagain into your etherthe dark does not always covertwined hands caught in moon bright

  • Ashley Elizabeth Saturday, 25 August 2012

    #8 My locked garden is safe in the backyard behin...

    #8My locked garden is safe in the backyardbehind the shed and swingsetthe dogs can never sniff it outI crawl under the gate the neighbors never know (because they're dead--their garden is forever lockedbut I am tiny so my parents say I am so tiny they always tell me to eat that the monsters will take me awayI know they're lying because they giggle when I run away crying but I don't believe them anymore because here, in my locked garden of roses,daffodils, plum trees, and hibiscusthe monsters stay with meand we giggle at how silly grown-ups can be.

  • Sarah Lydia Saturday, 25 August 2012

    Rapunzel ♥

    Rapunzel ♥

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