You tricked me at the well, it's true,
but I've no grudge; it turned to love.
Though transformation's not enough
when one sets out to woo.
____Neither roses nor cherries can halt
the creeping cold from clasping us close
in spite of our stubborn clinging
to summer's faded fruits: we salt
This fairy-tale--was it skin-deep?
Or does the tremble in your voice
mean chance, mean I've a choice?
There are some vows that I must keep
____our smiles and utter smoky oaths
at Time's relentless unhinging
of body from soul, lives from loves,
and starlight from those whom it steers.
before I take your ring to hand:
unhouse the frogs and ring the bell,
bid all my stepsisters farewell.
I need to know that I have had--
no matter how my road goes wending--
____This is the fate of every chart,
_to mean much less than all the troves
of treasures fair. Our oldest fears
propel us still to map the heart
while we plot (Time notwithstanding)
a journey worth a lovers' ending.
Mary Alexandra Agner
notes on the process