By Alexandra Seidel
If Alice had been born in China
her feet would have been bound
(so much easier to stumble
down rabbit holes with these.)
The Rabbit (fourth of the zodiac,
followed by Dragon, preceded
by Tiger) in his compassion
and serene sincerity
would have waited for her,
tumbled with her,
chatted all the way.
The Cheshire Cat
of course, would have been a tiger
stripes at least as piercing as the smile
quiet and yet
always ready to leap.
It would have said to Alice
in her blue and gold embroidered silk gown
much the same things--
tigers, after all, are also cats
if less docile, less tame.
The caterpillar might well have been
as of yet unhatched
sleeping in a hot fuming egg
but waking often
to speak through the iridescent shell,
speak strangely, but never quite untrue.
mad and drinking tea
would have been a hairdresser
with fabulous black tresses
rising like winding towers from his head
scissors poised behind his back.
Then there is the Red Queen who
would have been an empress. She
would still wear red
but also gold and white jade
and with her long pinky fingernails
she would have snatched eyes
before she ever took heads.
are peonies in the East
not red but almost so, with their dark pink
that is painted on ink here
because in truth
those oriental peonies bloomed ebony white.
the thing that would pluck
the Chinese Alice from her daydream
would be mahjongg stones
and waking her
to the shadows of living temples
the sound of honking cars
the smell and sound of people all around her
and to a different life
that would be not that different
Tread carefully through the rabbit hole and, hopefully, you'll find yourself at Teaching Authors where you'll discover a wondrous world of poetry to explore.