The Granddaughter’s Tale

You feel it in your blood, something sung to you before you were born,
the wild and wicked warning in all the old stories: you are vulnerable
to monsters, to inherited tragedy, to the journey decreed by the oracles
and set before you by fate. The only safe path shifts in the darkness
like the hut of Baba Yaga, like the myriad faces of the trickster,
like history, like self-punishment. Will you take the pins road,
or the needles?
Ten years of trials have hardened your heart
and transformed you into something glittering and bright, but also
made you fragile as a bone, as a glass slipper, as a happy ending.
The thing you seek is also seeking you, or else has been with you
since you began, but is there really no place like home? Can anyone return
from the dead? How many heads must be ripped off and regrown
before you can learn – before you can question – before you discover:
the chambers of your heart are Symplegades, crashing together,
until everything is destroyed – both between them, and within them.

Dessa Bayrock .jpeg

Dessa Bayrock lives in Ottawa with two cats and a variety of succulents, most of which are still alive. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in OCCULUM, IDK Magazine, Cotton Xenomorph, and Spy Kids Review, among others. You can find her, or at least more about her, at