She passes the woods, the flowing brook,
and arrives at a palace of locked closets.
Its only prince is tired of soirees.
The orchestra plays Mussorgsky
in a blaze of straw notes.
Disembodied mouths and thighs
waltz in dim lantern light, while
faceless stewards stalk hallways,
guarding the contagion of rooms
that hold skeletons and lost keys.
When the prince asks her to dance,
midnight cobwebs tangle her hair.
A red cockroach crawls from his lips.
When he reaches for her hand,
his flesh speaks the language of worms.
As the clock chimes twelve,
she flees past oaks that weave
fairy dust into gnarled clusters,
their bitter leaves raining down
on the crumbling turrets.
Donna M. Davis
Donna M. Davis is a central New York poet and former English teacher who owns a business specializing in book design, resume writing, and editing services. Her poetry has beenpublished in Red River Review, Ilya’s Honey, Halcyon Magazine, OddballMagazine, The Milo Review, The Centrifugal Eye, Comstock Review, Poetpourri,the Altadena Review, Latitudes, and others. She wasa special merit winner in one of Comstock Review’s annual awards contests and captured second place in one of Poetpourri’s national awards contests. She recently produced a chapbook entitled Several Ways to Look at the Stars.
Artwork: Jonny Ruzzo, “Fairy Tale Heroines 5:5”