after the Herman Hesse fairytale, "Shadow Play"
A woman werewolf, the Baron's brother said.
A saint, the old women said. Pick me up,
the children begged. We live in this castle
like shadows, the poet Floribert said, kept saying.
Heads bowed out from windows toward
the incantatory cabin where she slept, the wind
helped itself to bread, the children helped
themselves to her hands. The story moved forward
with birches, boats, handsome men, but always
a shadow somewhere lurking, seeping in
through the damp walls, circling the blue
mountains. Inside the dead house, the poet stirred:
We live in this castle like shadows, not men,
filled his head. He didn't write it down;
he brought the first tea roses to her bed. Night
after night, men in boats brought her where
they wanted. Everything was okay until it wasn't.