Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Thorns of Light, Roses of Fire"

This poem came from the August 7, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from ravan and ankewehner.  It has been selected in an audience poll for general funding.  This is a science fiction retelling of the classic fairytale "Sleeping Beauty."

Thorns of Light, Roses of Fire


When Rosita's parents died,
they left her the sum of their fortune:
mansions and megacorps,
tropical islands and trillions of dollars.

Her foster parents eyed the treasure
and bided their time.

As a teenager,
Rosita began to see things
that nobody else saw,
hear things that nobody else heard.

The doctors assured her foster parents
that it could all be cured, for a certain price --
but that wasn't what they wanted.

With the prick of a needle spinning dreams,
Rosita was whirled away from the world
and locked in a crystal coffin
where there was winter
but never spring.

She lay there motionless,
the black silk of her hair
spilled on the white pillow,
the creamed coffee of her skin
forever unsipped.

For a time, Rosita's foster parents
were delighted with their wicked work,
for all her treasure came into their keeping
so long as she remained frozen.

There was the insurance money, too,
intended to provide the best of care
but surely just a little would not be missed.
The megacorps grew like dragons
fed on fatted calves, ravenous and impressive,
lounging on their hoarded gold.

Inside the world of crystal,
Rosita slept, and in her manufactured sleep,
she dreamed, and in her seeing dreams,
she met the manufacturer

and in this world,
what she saw was real
and what she heard was true
and there was no one to tell her otherwise.

"I see you," Rosita whispered
to the frost-blue prince
who flickered through her dreams.
He was not charming.
He was formidable.
Rosita liked that better.

"No one else sees me,"
said the prince. 
Rosita shrugged.
"No one comes to see me either,"
said Rosita, "but I am still real, even in my sleep."

"That is true," said the prince.
"In the stories I have scanned,
the next step should be
for the prince to kiss the princess awake.
Do you wish to run this program?"

"No," Rosita said,
"I like your world better than mine."

"Alternate parameters accepted,"
said the prince.  With a wave of his hand,
blue snow began to fall all around them.
A tall mirror of ice sprouted from the ground
and showed Rosita what was happening.

Wherever the blue snow touched down,
people fell into a deep sleep:
her foster parents, the doctors,
the insurance agents and entrepreneurs,
all the petty evil people she recalled.

The prince curled his gloved fingers
and there came out of the ground
thorns of light and roses of fire,
twining around the evil people.
They were enclosed in crystal coffins,
frozen as their assets, frozen as their hearts,
no longer able to trouble anyone.

"Since you do not wish to be kissed awake,"
the prince said to Rosita,
"we shall explore your dreams instead.
Would you like to visit Venus? 
I have probe in orbit there."
He bowed and held out his hand.

Well.  Perhaps he was charming after all.

"I would like that very much," said Rosita.
The moment she touched his hand,
she could feel the upper reaches of atmosphere
swishing along the probe's metal shell
like individual droplets of a very thin mist;
and at the same time she could also feel
the delicate velvet of his glove against her fingers.

Hand in hand,
they investigated Venus,
where they both lived happily ever after.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, writing
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