After Ever

there is always—
(and she had hair of spun gold
and he rode a shining white horse
and she stood alone against the demon king
and he slew the dragon bare-handed
and she was the only daughter of the swan
and he spoke to the beasts of the forest, and they gladly did his bidding
and she plucked the lightning from the sky and used it for her sword
and he had the bright burning gaze
of a hero)

but the one is never—
(and his hair was muddy brown
and her horse is ornery and always fights the saddle
and he is afraid of grass snakes
and she gets catcalls from drunkards
and his father was a miller, and his grandfather as well
and she had a pet canary, but her little brother let it out
and he was once caught outside in the rain and almost died of pneumonia
and her gaze does not burn brightly, but steadily, instead
for a steady flame lasts
the longest)