royalty:: lianne spidel

“I gave birth to a princess,” her mother
once told me, and I thought of my son pouring
his Grape-Nuts in the garage so as not to wake her,

of the moment her baby, seeing her
now a separate entity, seemed not to breathe,
refused to blink her sapphire eyes.

I remembered again last night as she
and I crossed a Florida street, the caution
light running gold streamers

over the dark sweep of her hair,
when a young man coming toward us halted
midway a moment, stunned, before moving on.

So what is this Divine Right—less
than bloodlines, or more? More than symmetry
of face or a silver necklace nestled

at a flawless throat, the nerve to send back
bad food in restaurants, more than the big,
loopy handwriting of the generous spirit?

Call it bravery, that eager readiness
in the eyes, the quality of the light shining
there. Call it blessed assurance.

Today, pony-tailed, she luxuriates in sun,
opulent in a hot pink bikini. In deference
the ocean leans away, a backdrop.

I find myself bent, studying the shore for perfect
shells to lay at her feet—cat’s paw, prickly
cockle, angel wing. Call it homage, more or less.