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The fulfillment of wishes.

A longing quickened in the girl like ice, expanding; and so she did it, she opened the thirteenth door: three thrones of fire, unspeakable fairies: the girl had to reach for that, to move in some direction, and this, at least, was the honest one. She touched the glittering light, then withdrew a finger coated in gold.

Or the boy who was bidden to protect the well, pure as crystal, out in the wild, to let nothing disturb it; who leant down to his reflection, his drooping hair tumbling in, fringed with gold.

Both were cast out to the wild of thornbush prisons, of hunger compelling their hands to the earth as if to a lover, unearthing roots, pinching off berries from deep within briars; shaking nuts like rattles, then cracking them open with rocks

as the preparers of love patiently watched from their remove. They want us to learn to live on little; they want protectors, even in poverty, of the locked doorway in a woman's eye, the crystal well of a man's face,

in the forests of disgrace.
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Author:Swift, Doug
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
Previous Article:Deafened.
Next Article:Beneficence.

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