The Day After the Ball
What a day she’d had –
so many people hurrying about,
doing her bidding:
bringing her warm drinks
and then taking them away
to be replaced with glasses
brimming with ice and sweet wine.
She ordered servants
here and there,
upstairs and down,
reveling in her newfound status
as mistress of the palace.
She was unrecognizable
as the lass who had
toiled among the ashes
of the cooking fires. Let other
lower-caste castle staff
work themselves to nothingness –
she was above all that now.
Chirping birds were brought
in silver cages to entertain her
that she then flung to the garden below
in a fit of petulance.
How good it felt to allow
all the years of oppression
to flow outward, falling upon those
with downcast eyes and hunched shoulders.
Before the Ball, before the magical dance
with the Prince and his bewitchment,
she had been one of those misfortunate souls.
No longer. Now she moved in those rare circles
reserved for royalty –
She failed to notice the shabbily dressed girl
who brought her breakfast,
eyes alight with slyness,
taking her measure,
making her own

Pamela J. Jessen

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Pamela J. Jessen would be pleased to hear them.