Today's poem is by Elena Karina Byrne

Dogma Mask in Favor of Alice

Where would Wonderland be without the dogmatic
lucidity of the temperamentally unadventurous Alice?

                                —Elizabeth Bowen
        How many windows can a house bear?
All the legs have tables, all
the chairs, seats, if your lesson is sitting, to be sure. . .to grow
to my right size again; and the second thing is to find my way
        But the sky is ironed flat here.
        I must risk my table manners
for a purse full of pink candy. I must keep my eye on
everything like a cat, sweet, poor tabby.      Only

I am unmade, out of habit and thinking is no door.
I prefer what the cat perceives, seasonally being of course,
and if that cat can, can you tell me why not can I?
        If it's all the same to you
which it isn't, dear, you being far from where
I can see. . .Undoubtedly
there has been a mistake. Knowing

my skirts make better skins for flowers,
were these colors wise to my change as fetching
        for spring. Curious comes
all at once you know; twice is too much
for any tea party, and this garden is so confused

        and interrupted, down to the treacle-
bottom of the well. Taste it and it will wake you, havoc
and at a minute or two less than personal.
I ask myself, inevitable to the truth, is this

        the fond moral, the reason doubted as a teaspoon's
silver edge touching my tooth, click, tick, tock? OK:
Let's see them let me alone. Let them paint
        the roses royal red. Let them
eat cake. I'll be the one
        to cut out the heart of the Queen.

Copyright © 2007 Elena Karina Byrne All rights reserved
from Masque
Tupelo Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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