Tuesday, February 22, 2011

'Sweet' by Claire Bateman

Goldilocks finds the cottage oddly familiar,
even to the rich, ripe scent of childhood—whose?
The big bed is like a giant custard;
it loves her too greedily.
The middle bed is prim as a porcelain pillbox;
it has everything to do with reform,
& nothing to do with comfort.
The little bed is just lonely enough to please her.
Tucked in by her imaginary nanny,
she's a compact sugar bomb.
The whole cottage fears her kamikaze heart,
standard in quiescent little girls;
the hearth tongs tiptoe out in the company of the teapot
as everything dismantles around her
until the clipped lawn, strewn with domestic items,
resembles a flea market in fugue state.

Meanwhile, deep in the woods,
the Bears are taking their walk.
Their clothes make them a little anxious:
starched ruffles & buttons—
also, walking upright.
Baby Bear murmurs a slight song:
We are harmless, harmless.
Is this what bears do? they wonder,
not actually knowing
any other bears.

(from her book Leap, New Issues, 2005)

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