We were only picking flowers,
Honest, near the schoolyard’s edge,
By the wall where the sunflowers
Grow tallest, where we could get lost
Together in the labyrinth of them,
Giggling, running, holding hands
Like we always did, like two best friends.
The flowers so tall no one could see us
By that chain link fence that separates
The schoolyard from the outside world.
She stood there, clutching the metal
With both hands, staring off into the abyss
Of a laurel tree’s perse blossoms.
Wouldn’t those look nice braided in your hair?
She asked, you’d be a princess,
Don’t you want to be a princess?
I’ve always wanted to be a princess of something,
Of some kingdom far far away.
And she leapt the fence with a single bound,
I swear I tried to stop her, called her name,
As she pulled the lowest limb down,
Her ponytail bouncing with her movements.
She grabbed fistful after fistful of blossoms
Giggling delirious at the sudden freedom,
And I watched from a safe distance,
Held the chain links in my hand and swallowed hard,
Half wishing I was as brave as her,
Half glad I wasn’t going to receive
The inevitable punishment for leaving school grounds.
Scaredy cat, scaredy cat, scaredy cat,
Well, you know how she is.
A car pulled up like a chariot, all black,
Roared, honked the horn, called out her name,
Persephone. She looked back at me and grinned.
The passenger door opened. She stood there
On the threshold. Don’t go! I called,
But part of me was curious, too,
Wanted to join her in that place of mystery.
And then she disappeared into the portal
Of the open car door, the tinted windows
Veiling her face, her wide blue eyes, her smile.