|"King Lear and His Daughters (1867), by Julia Margaret Cameron (artmagick.com)|
Editor's note: "Love Like Salt" fairy tales are among my absolute favorites. There's even one in Beyond the Glass Slipper. Here, Jennifer deftly captures the emotions that swirl in those stories.
A pearl sweats near poison.
A king holds a jewelled cup,
seated between the daughter who chose gold
and the one who would go bare for no man,
but the poison at the feast is subtle:
an empty chair and ancient guilt.
A servant brings the cook
to account for the tasteless meat.
The king almost sees,
but does not hesitate to blame.
The girl does not quail;
says, "Once you cast forth a child
because you thought she loved you less."
He lowers his head, weeps.
She embraces him at last,
whispering his name,
she has made him
eat his words
and knowing nothing else
to rub in.
Jennifer A. McGowan lives near Oxford, England, and has published widely on both sides of the Atlantic. For more poetry, info about her first collection and anthologies, and for samples of her medieval calligraphy, visit http://www.jenniferamcgowan.