If he wanted her
to sleep in this drafty castle,
she required a comfortable bed, not
one padded with rocks.
They ground against her spine, her hipbone
when she turned on her side.

Soon the mattresses elevated her
almost to the ceiling, but still she tossed
and turned. Was this misery all
he could offer? But, ah, the relief
when she'd uttered her last delicious complaint.
Then he knew who she was, divined
her quality.

But the foulness of the insipid peas,
mashed, shriveled to a pulp.
Yes, she would appreciate soup for lunch,
a thick potage, steaming hot,
carrot sticks on the side.

Claire Keyes

Claire Keyes ( discovered her connection with "The Princess and the Pea" tale during a recent camping trip (at least the Princess had a mattress!). Her blue collar roots reasserted themselves, however, and she henceforth disdains Princess-hood.

The artwork at the top of the page is by Mark Fischer.