Alone she sits in her ivy-climbing ivory tower,
the princess of her castle somewhere in southern France,
the charm having rubbed off her prince—
like a gold-plated, plastic frog.
She is nothing but part of his menagerie,
like the Queen’s perfume bottle array—
the only piece of his princess collection—
a silver leaf in his family tree.
Her crown of jewels feels like a crown of thorns,
for twas when his father dropped the remaining glass slipper,
that the spell was broken,
for between the lines,
the light of knowledge
The prince had been tricked.
The stepsisters had wanted him—
not just a way out.
Ella’s barrenness haunts her,
as do the spirits of the children that will never be,
and she cries out to her fairy godmother,
who, unlike God,
answers prayers that should not be.
The fairy godmother appears,
like an angel of light,
and Ella cries out,
“Please, grant me a son,
and I will ask for nothing more.”
“Of course, dearie,” the old woman says,
and she finds the largest squash in the patch,
a pumpkin without blemish,
on whom the sun has shined all day.
Placing it in Ella’s arms,
she chants, “Cribbety-cribbety coo.
Be a boy with Ella’s sensitivities,
and his father’s proclivities,
so that there be no question
to whom he belongs”,
and the pumpkin, like the Popple,
turned inside itself and became an infant,
covered with the fibrous strands of the insides—
like a connective tissue that held him together
till he ripened.
And then the fairy godmother says,
“Before his eighteenth birthday,
he must find a mademoiselle
of royal blue blood to marry him or
he will turn back into a pumpkin,
and thus fertilize potential future generations.”
Despite this condition,
the Princess was happy, delighting in her only one,
and the Prince was likewise overjoyed that his wife—
like Bithiah, the adopted mother of Moses—
had kept this strange and beautiful secret.
When Prince Peter Pie found his mate,
seventeen years to the day of his maturation,
Princess Ella learned that the only seed her son possessed
was that of the pumpkin—
good for roasting,
and nothing more.