FIRST, the stays of ribbon, like shreds of river.
The seven little men who took you in as housekeeper, cook, and dry-nurse had gone into the monster’s belly, to dig out hidden ore. They warned you, left behind in the cottage, not to let a soul inside.
I called out my wares, and when you came to the window, I hung them before you in red and verdant curtains.
“I am not supposed to go to the door,” you said.
“No?” said I. “But you are so very pretty. And in a saggy, shapeless dress! Where is the little waist?”
“Oh, I haven’t a care for that.”
I almost knew hope. But you looked at them, and I saw your eyes shimmer as though full of tears, and I saw desire sway in your throat. You reached for them.
“Here, child,” I said. “Let me help you.”
I snaked the stays around your slender trunk.
“That is quite tight.”
|copyright Quentin Greban|
“Anything for beauty,” I said, and pulled them tighter.
I snuffed the breath from you, and you sank.