Through the Woods by Jessica Paige Wick

Over the hills and through the woods there was a joyful house.
Then there was a tragedy: maybe death.
The youngest left to stop it.
            Just for a little while,
                            not forever.
There was a journey and there were many hardships.
There was also aid given in return for good deeds performed unasked.
Then inside a maze or a castle or a dungeon of a cavern
or a forest
or a miser’s vault
or a pomegranate seed
or the eye of a needle inside the egg of a hen
swallowed by a basilisk devoured
by a black knight
there lay a casket or a vial or a sword
or a bit of lace or a snatch of music
or a crushed leaf
or a pinch of powdered unicorn horn
or a strand of the moon’s hair.
there was a miracle.
Then there was the journey back
on a milk-white steed or the back of an eagle
or the spine of a silver-scaled fish
or the wind
or on feet browned
and callused by wandering
so many roads.
There was the house,
different and
the same.
There was the bed,
the father or the mother or the sister or the brother,
and maybe a pale cat
with a high tail
asleep in the middle
of unmended shoes.
there was the end,
just for a little while,
not forever,
of the tale.

Jessica Paige Wick is one of the co-editors of Goblen Fruit and is a previous contributor to Cabinet des Fées. She can often be found lurking in the dingy aisles of a chain bookstore (which, much like a chain-gang, can be a painful experience. “Do you sell books here?”), where she earns her bread. When she’s not at the bookstore, she’s serving time at a local college; when she’s not there, she’s invariably found squinting at a book.

Image: Vasilisa, Ivan Bilibin (1900)