The Queen of Hearts

Brandel France de Bravo

This morning I left a tart freshly baked
steaming on the sill, and still it waits.
I have only this summer.
There will be no others.
Where is my knave with his knife
who dared to slice what was not his
and lick the sharp edge after?
Where is my conniver, my ravisher,
my thief? Jack of all mischief
worshipful as Black Mass.

In the Himalayas, I hear, heartless
in his robes, eating nothing that has eyes.
No, in Dearborn, driving canned food,
taking collection, never a coin
from the plate. No, in Des Moines
one basement day at a time
praising a power that is not mine.

All this abnegation—an abomination.
No one to trespass my kitchen,
desert with my desserts, just
a solitaire full sore eating
every one, the crumbs gathering
like sand between my breasts, the day’s
mandala destroyed with undressing.
All that he has given up, I will gain
and carry where they may wonder
giving gravida to my grief.

My subjects say I let him break
the rules and now the ruler is broken.
But I know how to lure
those light fingers. My conception
shall trump his immaculate, and back
he will come, unrepentant,
unreformed, to fold in my lap.



Brandel France de Bravo is the author of the poetry collection Provenance (Washington Writers’ Publishing House Poetry Winner 2008), co-author of Trees Make the Best Mobiles: Simple Ways to Raise your Child in a Complex World (St. Martin’s Press, 2001), and editor of Mexican Poetry Today: 20/20 Voices (Shearsman, 2010). Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Bellingham Review, Cimarron Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Fairy Tale Review, Gargoyle, and the Seneca Review. She has received a prize and a fellowship from Washington, D.C.’s Commission on the Arts.



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