Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The Red King Wakes"

This poem came out of the June 4, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] jjhunter, based on the Red King in Through the Looking Glass. It has been sponsored by Shirley Barrette.


"The Red King Wakes"


Someone is shaking him,
and the Red King flinches,
because nothing good ever comes of that --
it's always the Red Queen trying to rouse him
and demand that he come do his duty.

"Hush," says a low voice,
and the Red King blinks the sleep from his eyes
to see the Ace of Hearts. "Come quickly."
A gloved hand pulls him to his feet.
"We must make our escape now,
while the womenfolk are busy yelling at each other."

Now that it's mentioned,
the Red King can  hear quite a row.
He peeks through the trees
to see a yellow-haired girl
shouting at his wife.
Good, that ought to keep them a while.

So the Red King lets the Ace of Hearts
lead him through the dense forest,
and notices that he never once
allows a branch to snap back
in the king's face, and keeps him
from stumbling over the rough ground.

It is slow going
for a card and a chessman
with their stubby little legs,
but they are determined
to make good their escape.

"Your brother, the King of Hearts,
says that you are lonely," muses the Ace of Hearts,
"even though you are already married."

"You'd be lonely too, if you had to
put up with the likes of her," the Red King grumbles.
"I don't even like  women that way.
Or men. Or anyone, really."

"Ah," said the Ace of Hearts,
"then I suppose we are kindred spirits.
My friend the Ace of Spades
thought that might be the case."

"I suppose you'll be wanting a kiss
in payment for the rescue?"
the Red King asked.

"Only if you promise not to ask
for more than kissing," said the Ace of Hearts,
"for I am not that way inclined."

"That sounds like a fair bargain to me,"
said the Red King, and allowed
the Ace of Hearts to claim his mouth
with a chaste kiss.

Well now.
That was surprisingly agreeable.
It was not at all like the Red Queen's
plundering buss and prowling hands.

Then the Ace of Hearts
beckoned with gloved fingers, saying,
"Yonder lies the border between
Wonderland and the Fairytale realms.
What do you say we run away together?
I hear they have an abundant supply
of happily-ever-afters."

It was time to make his move,
the Red King decided.

He kissed the Ace of Hearts back
and said, "Yes."

* * * 

Notes:

Here I'm writing the Red King as romantic asexual.  Asexual romance works similar to sexual romance, just without the pelvic friction.

In asexual culture, cards can represent orientations.  The Ace of Hearts commonly symbolizes romantic asexuality, while the Ace of Spades symbolizes aromantic asexuality.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, romance, writing
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