‘Fairy Tale’ by Katharyn Howd Machan

Let me tell you about redemption.
Let me tell you the way a dragonfly
shapes a heart when it copulates

with the other dragonfly that’s drawn
to put all possible sin behind and make
a fine new creature. Let me

share the story of a woman in love
who found red wine and lavender
in southern France and bore a daughter

and loved that daughter so much she tore
a sacred promise to shreds. Redemption.
Once upon a time a fox

dared cunningly to slide inside
the barely open kitchen window
of a family of three bears: guilt/

gilt turned to Goldilocks, removing
beast from beast. What can a mother
tell her daughter

to keep her happy and true?
Let me say—let me say it once:
regret spreads wings as dark as shadows

that keep on beating, reaching for light
to turn it into the darkest jewel
a woman must reach for every night.

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