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Immortality Analysis

Author: poem of Lisel Mueller Type: poem Views: 8

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In Sleeping Beauty's castle

the clock strikes one hundred years

and the girl in the tower returns to the world.

So do the servants in the kitchen,

who don't even rub their eyes.

The cook's right hand, lifted

an exact century ago,

completes its downward arc

to the kitchen boy's left ear;

the boy's tensed vocal cords

finally let go

the trapped, enduring whimper,

and the fly, arrested mid-plunge

above the strawberry pie

fulfills its abiding mission

and dives into the sweet, red glaze.

As a child I had a book

with a picture of that scene.

I was too young to notice

how fear persists, and how

the anger that causes fear persists,

that its trajectory can't be changed

or broken, only interrupted.

My attention was on the fly:

that this slight body

with its transparent wings

and life-span of one human day

still craved its particular share

of sweetness, a century later.


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