6:3: “The Root King’s Daughter”, by Jessica Paige Wick

6:3: “The Root King’s Daughter”, by Jessica Paige Wick
The root king’s daughter had eyes before
(apples & smoke & ash)
the autumn woods all caught flame
bloodied by wind’s quick lash.

the root king’s world of dreaming was
(o wood and frost and thorn)
below the dust of mankind’s tread
impervious to the horn.

but the horn sounded true & the horn sounded deep
(in winter & fire & snow)
& the huntsman came to hunt the woods

to bring his prey down low.

and the root king’s daughter luminous
(as apples and ice and glass)
echoed a falling of dark in moonlight
the huntsman sought to pass.

but the root king’s world he did not dream
(o winter & fire & snow )
so the root king’s daughter went to him

careful and wild as a doe.

the huntsman observed as she fell from the light
(glass and winter and woe)
the deer-sweet lift of her still-crowned head
so he drew back his silver bow.

and the root king’s daughter said one word
(thistle & thorn & war)

but the huntsman had not heard in time
so her heart fell dead before.

the root king opened old frost-etched eyes
(o woe & ice & winters)
he rose from his world of dreaming made
& smashed the snow to splinters

for the root king saw his daughter, his child,

(and from the dream she never awoke)
deathing a dream of sleep in the snow
ash & fire & smoke.

the huntsman is hunted all through the woods
the moon she sleekly smiles
each splinter became a knife of sharp glass
he bled for many miles.

the root king’s daughter sleeps the hours
(in the root she lies alone)
and where is a prince to kiss her awake?
he’s glass & winter & bone.

Jessica Paige Wick lives near Los Angeles. The huge uncontrollable wildfires one sees on the news during California’s fire season are usually burning on the nearby hills. Although she writes poetry and fiction as often as her time allows, she also co-edits Goblin Fruit with that nefarious closet evil fate, Amal El-Mohtar.

What inspired this poem? 1. Faerie – the place, not the creatures. 2. Necessity – I had to write a ballad for a creative writing class. 3. Amal—I knew what I wanted to write; I knew the title was “The ____ King’s Daughter”, but I didn’t know what the ____ was. Amal suggested “Root”.

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