one day while cleaning the kitchen i found,
amongst the teacups and saucers and silk spiderwebs,
with sharp white teeth and star-dusted skin,
a faerie in my cupboard.

she bit my finger quite hard when i found her.
red blood gathered on
her perfect pearly fangs.
i had to rinse the wound three times.
she never apologized.

we were sometimes-friends and often-enemies.
i would wipe away the insects she ate from my shelves
and she would torture my cat until
he was terrified,
his fur on edge and his whiskers trembling.

but we would, on quiet grey-sky mornings,
sit and drink and talk together.
she had a thimble with two dewdrops and
some butter cookie crumbs.
she said they hurt her stomach,
but ate them with the greatest pleasure,
licking her flower stem fingers.
i thought ladybugs must not
make a good meal.

i told her about school,
about halls that twisted and squeezed and smothered,
about parents with furrowed brows and dull minds,
about the smell of new paper and old books,
about gym class lockers, math, and mythology.

she told me that humans were terribly dull and
planted stories like lush gardens in my mind
of how moonlight tasted,
what it felt like to fly,
how trees learned to sing,
and the tales of the birds.

"we have no parents," she told me, her voice stern.
"we are alone from birth. it must be such a
wicked pain to deal with someone else's rule.
our rule is the sky and the blood in our
veins."

but i'd seen her wrap her arms around herself
when i spoke of a mother's hugs and
i'd seen her biting her lip when
i spoke of a father's pride.
she asked to look at my books, just once,
and leaned forward on her heels at
aphrodite's name.

she vanished one day, the faerie in my cupboard,
leaving a thimble and some dead bugs and
a glitter of stardust.

of course i understand--
she is a traveller.
the sky is her only rule, her only love.

i put butter cookies on my doorstep for her,
just in case.
i go outside and try to listen to the trees.
i write down what i know of the birds.

i like to imagine her darting through clouds,
munching on petals,
sipping moonlight.
it's her nature to be wild, and yet...

sometimes, when it's dark and
i'm curled up in my bed,
i close my eyes and see her
in the arms of two taller faeries,
with furrowed brows and warm red lips
kissing her sweet stardust face and saying

"our daughter, our daughter;
you've finally come home."