Bluebeard’s Stepdaughter

by Angie Rega

I live in Bluebeard’s castle,
In shadows of the profane,
I live as Bluebeard’s vassal,
I have lived past the first pain,

Of his bristles on my cheek
Of his body atop mine,
Of “This won’t hurt a bit dear”
And “You know it’s just a game.”

The labyrinthine corridors
All lead to the same room,
Of silent screams: lambs slaughter
And to think
That you can do this:
And then you call me daughter.

“What’s it like, a French kiss?”
“Have you ever been kissed?”
I don’t know how to answer,
It’s childhood I’ve missed.

Letter to Segna, my best friend in the fourth grade:
Dear Segna,
About a first kiss—
Saliva is cold when it’s smeared on your body.
Bristles hurt your upper lips

Segna dear,
The irony.
Staring out, waving to each other from the rooftops,
You would find out soon enough,
Promised to a one-legged septuagenarian
At fourteen
I never saw you again.
I hear your voice—sing-song in the wind
“Don’t worry Maria dear—for me there is no strife
I accept my fate—live in a nice house.
And at least he calls me wife.”

I start to grow
He angers,
“Not dressed like that you’re not!”
And “Don’t you talk to strangers!”
“You know all men are dangerous!”

Mother’s hands shake
As she drinks her tea,
“Listen to what he says dear.”
She’s never looked at me
In the eye
Since we moved here.

I live in BlueBeard’s castle
I live in shadows of the profane
For though am faraway now,
I’m locked in his terrain.

He visits me in flashbacks
He mocks me when I sleep
My soul is in his gripsack
My soul for him to keep.

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