THE FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE 2008

  Melinda Lovell
TO SEEK THEIR FORTUNE
 

Being their mother
I had to send them out. Afterwards
I straightened their rooms, made them welcoming
as if straightening their lives.
Though that work was done long ago
when each was growing up.
When I worry, I tell myself
they had the stories

Night after night re-telling.
We'd all know the forest path is marked out
with a handful of peas strewn
eaten by birds.
Then come the inedible pebbles.
These might turn into hailstones
that quickly melt
but anyway they only marked the way back,
could not show the way ahead
peopled with masked animals

I don't have to tell them again
toads jump out of some mouths,
silken tongues mean snake words,
you can't eat gold or warm your hands at it,
shape-shifting gifts are for throwing out behind you
when being pursued

They know about threes

They know the stories


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