Cautionary Tale; Gold Ribbon by Susan Richardson



Cautionary Tale


I was once a damsel in a dress,

a sparkle in an eye that never blinked,

a master of incarcerating bitterness

on the back of my tongue.


I was once a whisper

longing to be a roar,

a yearning star in a closed fist,

a banshee trapped

in the mouth of the moon.


I was once a storm on the horizon,

a cautionary smattering of lightning

flickering in the corner of your eye,

a threat that pricked the inside of your ear.


I am now a hurricane arrived,

a growling wind whipping

through the cracks in your moral authority,

a hammer of thunder smashing the smirk

from your vapid and venomous lip.



Gold Ribbon


You prop your fairy princess

on a pedestal of porcelain

and pluck out her voice with fat thumbs,

believing you have stolen her grit,

tamed her teeth.


For your delight,

she spins and mesmerizes.

Poised. Patient. Plotting.


She wears a mask of tiger’s eye

secured in place to fool you,

entices you into the palm of her hand,

purrs an intoxicating tune.

You grin like a hunter

who has mistaken a captor for prey,

and climb head first into her trap.


She ties a gold ribbon around your neck,

leads you into a field of chrysanthemums,

promises to show you her face

as soon as the sun begins to set.


The taste of victory

fills your ravenous mouth.

You are the conquistador,

eating handfuls of fiery petals,

waiting to claim your prize.


Moments before dusk blooms

like a bruise against your eyelids,

she sneaks out the back door,

sheds her porcelain skin

and bites down hard on the air.