When word reached her of Rip Van Winkle,
Her Majesty summoned pen and parchment
and wrote him an epistle that began:
Dear Mr. Van Winkle, upon hearing of your plight,
I could not help but sympathize….
When a reply arrived, the letter was barely legible,
bearing the hesitant scrawl of one who had barely learned his letters
and who had never regretted it until now.
It became a habit, then, for Her Majesty to send letters
across the land and sea to a small little village
sheltered by the Catskills.
The tones of the missives lessened in their stiffness,
the Misters and Your Majesties dropping from their greetings,
and their signatures simplifying to Rip and Briar Rose.
They confided in each other—
how things could change in a century—
how odd it was to have a president instead of a king—
how much she missed her uncle, ten years dead when she awakened—
how much he didn’t miss his wife—
until one day the courier bore, with slow and uncertain step,
word from Judith Gardenier that her father was dead.
Annclaire Livoti has recently graduated from Radford University and is now applying to graduate school for a Master’s in Library Science. She lives in a small town in Northern Virginia, which is so tiny it hasn’t even earned a stoplight. In November 2009, she had a short story published in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword and Sorceress XXIV.
IMAGE: Actor Joseph Jefferson as Rip van Winkle, photographed by Napoleon Sarony in 1869