do you remember, brother
those days in the wood
when you ran with the deer —
falling bloody on my doorstep at dusk
stepping from the skin
grateful to be a man?
and do you know, brother
just how I longed
to wrap myself in the golden hide
smelling of musk
blackberries and rain?
tell me that tale
give me that choice
and I'll choose speed and horn and hoof —
give me that choice
all you cruel, clever fairies
and I'll choose the wood
not the prince.— Terri Windling
you long to run in musky rain and princely skins
but, sister, I have sped that hidebound marathon
wearing golden hides that warped my hands to hooves
and broke my scalp with a crown of horns —
I've run through thorns and thirsty fens
through wolves that bite and cats that catch —
those blood-dried hides of hoary kings
scoured raw my skin and
deadened my heart with hammering —
when I reached your hearth I shucked that hide
and faerie hands unveiled my sight:
ever beneath that scouring skin
proud, callow princes were scraped away
revealing numb and bloody men below.
but no more hides and no more hurts
run, sister, if you must but no more marathons for me
for I choose this hearth, not the princely hide,
and I will let my skin knit smooth.
— Barth Anderson
About the Authors: Barth Anderson is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Patron Saint of Plagues, and short stories published in numerous magazines and anthologies. He lives in Minneapolis, where he also writes on food, fair–trade, the co–operative movement, and organics. Terri Windling has published over forty books for adults, young adults, and children. She lives in Devon, England. Terri Windling is the editor, and founder of the Endicott Studio for Mythic Arts. For more information, please visit her website.
"Brother and Sister: The Sister" copyright © 1995 by Terri Windling. It first appeared in The Armless Maiden (Tor Books, 1995) and was reprinted in The Poets' Grimm: 21st Century Poems from the Grimms Fairy Tales (Story Line Press, 2003). "Brother and Sister: The Brother" copyright © 2003 by Barth Anderson. It first appeared in a previous issue of The Journal of Mythic Arts. The poems may not be reproduced in any form without the authors' express written permission.