There are two sides
to fairy tales
and mulling spices.
For example, kings and queens
are not always noble heroes.
Castles can be sweet illusions
built with decks of cards.
But even a house of cards seems cozy
when it’s dressed in burgundy and navy blue
hunter green and taupe and all the hues
of home. Smells like mulling spices
in here, I thought. I felt safe.
But I have learned a thing or two
about the scent of mulling spices. It is often
favored by the Queen of Hearts. I almost lost my head
in Wonderland. Still, the arrow
that pierced me didn’t come
from the Queen’s bow. I was struck
from behind. She was right, I was no match for
her power. ‘I always win,’ she said to me.
I pulled the arrow from my back
and stepped away.There was no need
to remind the archer
whose side I'd been on.
All that was needed
was a magnolia print above the fireplace
and two sconces with candles
that would never be used. Then the interior
would look like all the others
in that row of identical houses. Kingdoms vary.
But a house of cards can only stand so long.
I’ve read the story.The Queen of Hearts
loses her head
in the end. And I trust
this tale of Wonderland
will unfold just as Carroll’s does.
But I no longer trust the sweet illusion
of any home that smells
like mulling spices.