“The Chambermaid” by Mari Ness

I know how they will tell this tale. That I
tricked the princess from her place.
That I stole her prince, and killed
her horse, and sent her out
among the geese. I know how
they will ignore the rest:
how she controlled the wind,
how she spoke to the dead—
woman and horse alike. How when
she held her mother’s drops of blood
they spoke. How I feared
for my very life
if I brought her a golden drink.

I know how they will say
only a princess can wed a prince.

I know they will call me the chambermaid,
and ignore the cries of that young goose boy.

I wait for the barrel and its studded nails.
I wait for the white horses.
I wait for the cries on the city streets.
Let my drops of blood finally speak.


Mari Ness is not quite as obsessed with myth and fairy tales as her work would suggest. Her fiction and poetry have also appeared in Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Uncanny, Lightspeed, Nightmare, Fireside, Apex, Strange Horizons and previously here in Kaleidrotrope. Her poetry novella, Through Immortal Shadows Singing, is currently available from Papaveria Press, and an essay collection, Resistance and Transformaion: On Fairy Tales, is forthcoming soon from Aqueduct Press. She lives in central Florida.

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