The River and The Moon: A Poem by Jacquelyn Phillips

Author Bio: Jacquelyn Phillips believes in Happily Ever After—but she doesn’t write about the perfect fairy tale ending.  Oftentimes, she stretches the limits and breaks tradition turning the princess into the villain and the prince into a damsel in distress.  She challenges her readers to distort their previous knowledge of fairy tales, tweaking the characters in each story, creating tales that are complicated, yet strangely familiar.  She has had her piece of short fiction, Cinderella, published in the spring 2013 edition of Aztec Literary Review.  Jacquelyn was editor-in-chief of pacificREVIEW 2014 edition titled, Strangley Ever After.  She is currently working on her novel, Cat and Mouse, a tragic love story surrounded by the truth and fickleness of friendship interspersed with comic relief and hope.  Jacquelyn graduated from San Diego State University, Summa Cum Laude, obtaining a BA in English.  She currently resides in San Diego pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at San Diego State University.

The River and The Moon

Written by Jacquelyn Phillips

The River and The Moon, Jacquelyn Phillips, PoetryShe first saw him—no,

not first saw, rather first

noticed him—braiding reeds at the river.

Torn and bloody:




dangled in the remaining current

pulsing from the previous night’s tears.

The muscles in his back rolled;

waves beneath his skin—

promises held within the curves of the Moon.


She fingered her golden locks

free-flowing, curled down her bodice

resting amidst the heavy tufts and folds of her skirt.

Without thinking—


her fingers mindlessly weave a braid to match

the one he—that one night—

to match his speed and delicacy.

His ears twitched, his hair tingled, but his hands,

would not stop.

Eyes remained focused on the reeds—his chest

now rising and falling

at an unexpected pace.


He felt her hidden behind

The clip-clop of hooves,

The polished wheels,

The window veil—

And the man—the Beast—his soft hands, rough

Too tight, too tense, on her thigh.

A lion’s paw clawing

the dirt eager to pounce.

To kill.


In his sleep, he hears her screams.The River and The Moon, Jacquelyn Phillips, Poetry

The river—their river—just beyond the castle

The screams

he pretends it’s a dream;


The Beast, no fool, watches her trembling fingers

methodically moving

strand one—strand two—

strand one—strand three—

ever so slightly

and through the veil

sees strand one—

strand two—strand one—

strand three.


She feels the Beast’s breath

on her neck

hot, so hot, it’s like ice against bare skin.

She shivers and sweats—

hands still braiding.

The Beast gently grasps her forearm—


at first.

She refuses to flinch

to show her fear.

Heart ablaze.

Skin black.

Eyes blue.

She always thinks of him

when the Beast loses his temper.


Only when the carriage disappears

does he look

over his shoulder.

Through the fog,

beyond the trees,

disturbing the birds and the bees.

The distant crunch of wheels

on pebbles punctures

his stomach.


He remembers—still feels—

the touch of her skin pink

and pale

blistered from long nights braiding the reeds.

In secret.

Her secret.

Their secret.


He wants her warmth one last time

to relive their youth—

the Princess

and the River Rat.

Where their jewels were glistening water droplets,

pearls, stones smoothed by the storms,

wealth measured in Love.


She found him the first night braiding reeds

and asked that he braid her long hair.

Like a man able to weave gold from straw,

his fingers pulled tenderly—her soft golden locks

tempting him to steal her away.


The River and The Moon, Jacquelyn Phillips, PoetryShe nodded.  He smiled.

She would return the next full moon

when the sky turned purple and

wolves emerged from their dark dwellings.

He never told her no—

Never uttered the truth.

The Moon—

Oh, the Moon, pale like her skin.

In secret.

His secret.


She would never understand why

she stood alone, a braided reed

molded into a heart at her feet.

She could never love him as one should

be loved.


A Princess, he reasoned, would not choose

a River Rat.

She never told him her secret—

that although destined to marry a Prince,

she wanted to be

one of the Moon.

To love him and braid reeds together.

To escape what a man—a Beast—does to innocence

in the safety of the dark.

The River and The Moon, Jacquelyn Phillips, Poetry


3 thoughts on “The River and The Moon: A Poem by Jacquelyn Phillips

  1. Reblogged this on djalidin2 and commented:
    Orang-orang terkaya di dunia, mencari dan membangun JARINGAN. Orang-orang lainnya, hanya sekedar mencari PEKERJAAN. (Robert T. Kiyosaki)
    Bila bisnis anda tidak hadir di dunia internet, maka anda akan kehilangan bisnis anda. (Bill Gates Microsoft) Sukses Selalu Bersama: http://www.nomor1.com/jaldin927

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