The four of us sat down
at the little iron table
in the castle’s courtyard.

In the silver teapot
your reflection was distorted
to the fairytale’s beast-prince.

I wanted to pour tea
for you, but our two friends
were all suspicion about us

back in those days:
ugly sisters who had eaten
too many bitter berries

and not enough sweet
iced buns. They glared at me
across the table

as I took up a knife
and sliced a cupcake in two
before pressing the parts

of soft sponge back
together along the hairline
crack in its frosting.

Back then, for me,
love came as easy as cutting
something in half

and trying to make it
whole again, sticky rainbow
sprinkles holding lightly

to my blade.
I thought love would always
run as red and hot

as the tea I burned
my mouth on, as red and hot
as the estate’s wild deer

that come at dusk
when the tourists have all gone
to lick an empty castle
from the water.