The Grand Vizier

by Rose Fox

for Amal El-Mohtar

The Grand Vizier is very liberal,
But no one sees it. Though she rubs her hands
and strokes her mustache, when the queen demands
that she cause terror, she resists the call.
She lowers peasants' taxes on a whim;
forgives some dissidents and sets them free;
and helps the winsome princess pack to flee
with her chambermaid lover. Tall and slim,
she passes well for evil, but at night,
alone at last, she doffs mustache and cloak,
burns the queen's orders into ash and smoke,
and reads romances by the firelight.
In diaries she keeps on a high shelf,
she writes down dreams of rescuing herself.

Rose Fox edits book reviews for Publishers Weekly and novels for aspiring authors. They live in New York City with two partners, three cats, seven computers, and several thousand books. Their favorite fruit is golden raspberries from White Silo Farm in Sherman CT, hand-picked and gobbled down still warm from the August sun.

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