The Prince: First Anniversary
by Carolyn Martin
She will not let it go: her narrative
about shape-shifting steeds and bullying
step-relatives. I’ve begged her to delete
the past and re-compose her life. I can’t,
she turns her back on me. Not now. Not yet.
The fact is she electrified that night.
The metaphor of lightning strikes? They pale.
Only later did I see raw skin hiding
up her sleeves and relentless darting eyes.
They intimated there was work to do
and Heaven knows how hard I’ve tried. I block
her charging down the stairs to get the door.
I squeeze her hand beneath the tablecloth
so she won’t clear the plates. I beg her not
to polish silverware or bow to maids.
You embarrass me, she fires back, and claims
I live in rampant idleness. I hold
her eyes with mine and wonder where she lives.
Each morning when she sneaks out of our bed
to stoke a fire or check deliveries,
I ransack every room. I need to find
those glass-blown shoes that sealed our wedding vows.
She’s hidden them like secrets that can’t bear
to face themselves. I’ll walk them door-to-door
through every street of nearby neighborhoods.
Perhaps they were designed for someone else.
The savvy voice and the strong yet subtle meter really serve this satisfying poem. The poem trusts the meter to not be a stricture but to lead where it will. In addition, sharp images help propel the narrative. As a reader, while I was never sure where I was headed, I was absolutely along for the adventure.
From associate professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin has published poems and book reviews in journals throughout North America and the U.K. Her fourth collection, A Penchant for Masquerades, was released by Unsolicited Press in 2019. She is currently the poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation. Find out more about Carolyn at www.carolynmartinpoet.com.