First a Grin, Then a Cat, Then Being Told
Which Way Depends on Where You Want to Go

Margaret Rozga


At the base of the rabbit hole, a garden.
The rabbit, perhaps, does not think hole
but home, deeper than surface beauty. Yet

this seems not the reason the rabbit hurried:
beauty as home.  Home as beauty. 
He passes it by. Alice doesn’t yet know
beauty is what she hurried after.

At a glimpse of the garden, she knows. 
She’d enter if only she were the right size, 
something she cannot control though she reads
and follows directions—a bite of this, a swallow of that.  

She’s always wrong.
Beauty’s a great idea, but
it’s impossible, a locked door,
a key too heavy or out of reach.

Alice hurries on, stops for tea, stops to ask directions, 
gets caught up in a royally wicked game not of her choosing,
forgets the garden, forgets where she wants to go.


Margaret Rozga has published four books, including Pestiferous Questions: A Life in Poems (2017). This collection, focused on Jessie Benton Frémont (1824-1902), was written with the help of a Creative Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society. Rozga has also been a resident at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology and the Ragdale Foundation. Two of her books have been named Outstanding Achievements in Poetry by the Wisconsin Library Association. Her first book, 200 Nights and One Day also received a bronze medal for poetry in the 2009 Independent Publishers Books Awards. Her poetry and essays have appeared recently in the Mom Egg Review, Presence, Whale Road Review, and the Los Angeles Art News.

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