i was sold to the devil for gold 1.
i gave up my hands for my father 2.
i gave up his wealth to go wander 3.
i gave up my freedom
for one gold skinned pear 4.
i gave up my child for a changeling 5.
i gave up my life for my child 6.
i gave up my kingdom for forests 7.
i gave up my king for an angel 8.
i gave up my hands made of silver 9.
for hands made of flesh, made of bone
1. the devil had braided haunches stuck with burrs, steely hooves, a tail like a bramble and horns bursting forth from his forehead as if they hurt him. he saw me by my father's apple tree, pink and white as apple blossoms, and wanted to take a bite.
2. the devil would have killed my father when he would not give me up so i offered my hands instead. the devil cut them off at the wrist with a cleaver. my own tears stopped the bleeding and the stumps healed up like doorknobs.
3. my father became rich and offered me a room in his big house and a servant to clean and feed me, forever like a child. but instead i set off into the world with a sack on my back and my two polished stumps.
4. in a gated garden i saw a pear tree. on it hung a pear the color of spun gold. my mouth watered--i had not eaten in a day. i stood on tiptoe to reach it with my mouth. the king saw me and took me in. he was rich and handsome with large appendages. he forged me hands of silver because a king cannot marry a girl with missing parts. i became his wife.
5. the devil stole my child and put in his place an elflocked fae.
6. in order to save the changeling i had to leave in exile, never to return.
7. with my child i came into the forest redolent with sap and mulch and the dark trickle of secret waters among the roots. here we found an abandoned cottage made of willow branches and here we lived.
8. the angel who found us here is tall as a tree and his hands are like wings. his skin is dark of hue. his smile a pearl necklace. he has no money in his pockets. he has no pockets. he brought me pears and water. he helped me feed my child.
he loves my strange-eyed boy, changeling or not.
9. the angel wept upon my silver hands
and they became
hands of flesh and bone