This morning, Elizabeth was dead.
Grey of skin to spite the sky,
Elizabeth was a sickly child.
Coughing more than she ever spoke,
her voice was seasalt over oatmeal.
Her gait was plain as rain clouds, and heavy as a storm,
while her peers’ limbs floated eiderdown with graceful joints.
A message was written by the hand of a scribe.
Brigette was caretaker for the little princess
sick with life and the sins of her father.
Brigette was sore-muscle and peach-flesh
bruised with a crook for a beak and open arms.
She loved Elizabeth for the roadkill she was
destined to become.
Atop a spotted horse, the messenger fled the castle.
The morning the King’s daughter hacked
up her last yolk of breath, Brigette was at her side.
Elizabeth had died a thousand times,
but this cloudeddawn was different. Brigette had never felt
her charge’s hands like this. Like spongecake,
coolvelvet and soaked.
The fist of the messenger rapt the caretaker’s door.
Bisley was Brigette’s only son.
He had no father
to speak of. A man
did Bisley’s broken mother the favor
over alefoam, under the pale blue
of moon, in a field while his horse lapped at the lake.
The messenger sung the shapes scraped by the scribe.
Bisley was smoothed right angles.
His face was candlelight in autumn
frost redwinelipped below a firegoldspun brow.
His skin stretched iridescent over avian bones.
His ankles flit sparrows above the dirt
of homes and roads connecting the people of his town.
Brigette slammed the door shut behind the messenger, and wept.
Bisley grabbed at her waist.
Pushing the beat of his heart into his mother. He hugged her.
She felt the percussion in her marrow; rattle and row.
She peered down at her first and only boy.
His face like cream, save for the blush of pink and petal.
His eyes were regal, soft with empathy but brazen enough to rule.
The King was on his way.
The King barely knew Elizabeth.
His life was spent between wives and guillotines and protests of divinity
Brigette wanted her boy to have
half the happiness he brought her.
Bisley felt the same. He wanted
his mother to stop crying.
Without the grit of words, the transformation began.
Brigette raised her right hand,
and with her nails she parted
Bisley’s hair down the center.
His scalp was a new pearl.
On either side of the part,
his hair fell phoenix, plume and span.
The King and his men approached the town.
Brigette ran to her former princess.
She peeled the velvet and lace
away from her cold swatches of skin,
placed her in one of her own
linen gowns and sent the neighbour for the Vicar.
The sounds of horses and armour danced in the distance.
The Vicar arrived in black Bisley stood in the kitchen.
carrying a sack of swaddling cloths. Ribboned hair and satined smile.
He was silent in Brigette’s home. He spun soft music with every lash
and only breathed enough to survive the deed.
Trumpets announced the King’s arrival from the townsquare.
The Vicar arabesqued out the backdoor
with Elizabeth neatly folded in his sackcloth.
Under the fullhowl of Moon, he dug
two times the depth required by death
and laid the child in earth. Above her
head, upon the stone was etched: Bisley.
Monthly Feature: August 2013: Roberto F. Santiago Hypothetical: A Review of Everything Imaginable