a journal of fantastical poetry

Dear Fairy-Tale Mother

by Sally Rosen Kindred

You: gone
from the room where the wolf tears your dress with her teeth
laces her lips in your mirror
and paints on your name

You, dead before we grow thin
and mean
and our father learns how to leave us
in the witch's wet pines

You who palmed our soft spines
and knew to hide hoods and bread
behind our ribs for the time
when our breath must pass through black woods

You, the body we think we remember
before the apple on fire,
the burn on the hand—

we have you swearing
by the clock-face,
teaching us to shred the loaves—

You, the promise cleaving the stepmother's chin,
the only tooth in the witch's mouth
that shines like home

You, the foam of gold asters swinging down
from the wolf's jaws:

he puffs, wind swells his white-fire
hackles to rise
and tumble down our heart's smoke stairs—

You in the falling
You in the throat
by his acids' stink, the burn


tearing and sewing the belly-dark
that won't let us go—

You don't have the needle.
You don't have the arm
to free us because we've lost

you to some
lesser story, some snowdrift, swallowed fury,
some singing bone.

September 24th, 2012

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