How the signs of fall
chimney ash smattered
over brick hearth signifies
new fire in my heart.
The Orange Flame: hollow
me out and I will carry you
to new fame. How could
you doubt? But how strange—
mice into horse, rat
Clues scatter like seeds.
When Cinderella rode inside
the coach I had become,
she stroked the ribs of my carriage,
she breathed in my scent of orange
blossom honey. She got the Prince
but what did I get?
Transformed into motion
and the heart the opposite of ash.
I watch the others like me
get carved inside out, a scorch
of teeth and eyes. Scooped out
to hold a tiny flicker. At dusk-time
I still hear her rapid breathing as she rode.
It would do you well to remember, Prince:
I held that glass-slippered foot first.
Carol Berg’s poems are forthcoming or in Crab Creek Review (Poetry Finalist 2017), DMQ Review, Hospital Drive, Sou’wester, The Journal, Spillway, Redactions, Radar Poetry, Verse Wisconsin. She was winner of a scholarship to Poets on the Coast and a recipient of a Finalist’s Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Artwork: Cinderella, Fairy godmother carving the pumpkin, Gustave Dore, 1865