And if the prince is evil.
If his fingertips are dangerous
when he pries loose the golden slipper
from tar, from pitch, from wax.
Ochre waistcoat, mustard sleeves, thin
necktie in a saffron knot
below a bearded grin. If
every night he plucks black swans
and floats their feathers down the stream
that runs fast past his castle,
then chews their curved necks raw
to spit out their splintered bones,
laughing as he shouts the name
of the shining girl he’ll seek and find
to marry, then cut off her feet
so she’ll never dance again.