This poem is a response to an image prompt on Every Photo Tells a Story. You can see the image here.
She was one so unlike the other girls
she frightened us with her strange dark songs
that hinted of the secret places
inside the nests of swallows,
the alchemy of maple seeds
and the muttering of the bees.
She wore her hair high upon her head
from where it hung like a fountain’s spray,
catching petals and pollen and twigs
while we all wore ours straight and long,
our eyebrows arching with displeasure
just to see her so.
Though we knew she was her papa’s treasure
an only child, her mother gone,
we saw that she was mad;
and cruel as only children can be
we followed her on idle days
to witness her anomaly.
Each sun-kissed day while the asphalt seared
the calluses from our bare feet
the dust rose round us in choking clouds
and the tires stank of hot rubber,
the girl played alone in her deep, green garden
her hands cooly cupping each floral spray
as she sang it into being.
Lulled or charmed by her steady chant
one by one the skippers would climb
onto the pollen-laced arch her fingers made
feeling their way with rough clasping feet
and they rolled out their miraculous tongues
to taste the dew upon her skin,
dew that was sweet as honey.
As the shadows stretched, tired and long
we jeered and spat in the dust,
cruel as only children can be
while Vanessa sat high on a well-worn branch
in her papa’s great old apple tree
singing her strange dark faery song
of butterflies and blossoms.
February 6, 2009