Happy Enough Fable that Ends

By Diana Elser

One day they sent her to the market
west of the tower doorway
by herself and full of warnings

she shopped successfully, returned
basket full, list complete, pleased
with herself, and they were pleased with her

then sent her all the time
which is how after two hundred stairs
to the tower top she saw the entire city
the mountain path, the river to the sea

One night she dreamed she flew not fell
from the tower wall, swept the riverbank
with wings or hands, scooped a shining fish

Another day, household away
she climbed the courtyard tree
which tore her dress. Wrapped
to the highest limb that could hold her

and her yearning, she swayed
while birds twittered, swooped
perched and cocked their heads
she imagined folded wings

against her back, began to think
how dresses could have slits
instead of sleeves to allow for wings

sewed late into the night
and in the morning sun
went to market, climbed the stairs
and flew, or thought she did.

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