Stone in your mouth,
I look out the window
and imagine that the trees
bend to your figure.
Prince of fire, prince of earth, prince of sea,
prince of the air who captured me,
prince of gnomes and prince of stones,
maze of lovers, filled with bones,
and here I lie beneath the mountain,
its entrance hid by the golden fountain.
I wait for your breath to fog the glass
I wait for your touch, for you to pass
a stone to me. I slip it in my mouth
like hard candy and I am gone.
And though we cannot speak,
you hold me close--
you smell of gold and roses.
They say that he drowned. That he washed up with the foam, that he was already half-rotted when we found him. They say we'd buried him right there, under the sand, and now every year some unfortunate finds his ribs poking out, white as shells, and they have to bury him all over again.
They say he still walks the beach.
They say you can sometimes find fresh footprints in the wet sand early in the morning, even when you're the first one there. They say that the scraggly sagebrush and thorny shrubs bend to fit his form. They say if you sit still for long enough, you can feel his warm hand resting on your shoulder.
Some say his hand is just the warmth of the sun. Some say that the bushes just bend to the wind and people see the shapes they look for. But no one can explain away the footprints, clear and high-arched like a prince used to walking on only air.
I don't say that he's sat beside me as a warm breeze and puddle of seawater, whispering to me in the voice of the ocean. I don't say that he told me about his faraway kingdom. I tell no one about the delicate golden circlet he wore as a crown that sunk to the bottom of the sea.
He told me about the rocks in his mouth that had caused him to sink when he spoke, when every word was a millstone. He whispered of the fish that bit through his skin, that feasted on flesh, that flitted between ribs.
He told me about the moans of the ocean, its song, how it longs to devour the beach but settles for lapping kisses.
A/N: Based on both the original fairytale and this artwork that's based on the original fairytale: