Once, a past lifetime ago, when I was fishermaid from the sweet, hot South
When my hair was dark and course and the summers never fell away from the skies
I went down to the river, a small watering hole surrounded by weeping willows and cherry blossom trees.
I was reeling in nets I set out, maybe the week before, the silver and pink trout, small minnows, sardines
They all flopped about, signaling their dying codes to me.
I made my way slowly, putting the fat fish into old woven baskets my brothers had made
And as I walked around the bend, where the misty falls splashed down, cooling the surrounding shallows,
I caught the prince's guards napping under willow shades and then:
there was the prince bathing.
I wish I could say I had time to gaze upon his beautiful sight
He saw me almost immediately.
He said not a word, at first, just dismissed his guards with a small flick of his hand and
Came towards me, small diamonds of freshwater dripping down his thick jaw,
his chest and his stomach, sliding down his groin and back into the pool.
He told me it was a crime of certain Death to watch a royal bathe.
I blushed profusely and sank to my knees, the water slowly soaking my tunic.
I attempted to apologize, I begged
But still he asked my head.
Or to be bed.
I found that strange,
A prince and a fishermaid
Why a prince wished to bed the smell of trout and minnows
And those damned sardines.
So I let him take me
He pushed thoroughly through me in the cool shallows,
Where my ears where almost submersed
A shame in itself to my future husband
I either be tainted or dead, though
So I let him take me in the shallows.
When he was done, he bathed me and dressed me and sent me on my way with three flickering gold coins.
I forgot my fish
My mother beat me well for it.
But I was the only fishermaid to be loved by a prince.