The Prince (from Grannie's Garden)
by Mary E. Choo

                                               For Milo Duke


                                                 On her way

                                                 to somewhere in the garden,

                                                 she discovered him in a thicket

                                                 behind the hedge.


                                                 She wasn’t afraid,

                                                 though his deer-like face and mossy antlers

                                                 gave her pause,

                                                 and she wondered at his crooked human body

                                                 wrapped loosely in rags.


                                                 When she asked why he was hiding,

                                                 he tried to explain,

                                                 but it was difficult at first;

                                                 she couldn’t quite grasp his fear of outsiders,

                                                 or why he wanted to sing.


                                                 As summer wore on into deep-woods days,

                                                 he admired her talent with roses,

                                                 and when she wove scented garlands among his horns

                                                 he convinced her that he was moved.


                                                 He taught her many songs by autumn,

                                                 taking care with her secrets.

                                                 Over her gardening basket, the countless flowers,

                                                 they often held hands,

                                                 so it was no surprise when winter drew near

                                                 that he asked her to make a choice.


                                                 From her high December window,

                                                 she kept watch on the path.

                                                 When he finally appeared,

                                                 she marvelled at the moonlight

                                                 on his wild green crown,

                                                 recalling roses, his soft, dark eyes,

                                                 and below, as she had promised


                                                 the unlocked door.



About the Author:

Mary Choo’s poems, short stories and articles have appeared in or been accepted by a wide variety of magazines, anthologies and online publications. Her credits include the Sword and Sorceress, Northern Frights and Tesseracts anthology series, ChiZine, Dreams and Nightmares, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Star*Line and The Rhysling Anthology. Her work has been on the preliminary ballots of the Nebula and the Bram Stoker Awards (poetry collection) and the final ballot of the Aurora Awards, and her poem "Christina" (ChiZine #22), was selected for an honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror for 2004 (Datlow, Link and Grant). Another poem, "Keepers (from Grannie’s Garden)," which appeared in ChiZine # 24, was nominated in the short poem category for the 2006 Rhysling Award. She lives in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.


Poem © 2006 Mary E. Choo.