We skipped the fairytales when you were younger.
Forget dead mothers, evil women others. Forget
the dark woods, wolves, welcoming homes filled
with overly large ovens. Forget hovels filled with
young girls scouring in ashes. Forget red
hoods, red lips, red shoes. Forget hair: blonde, plaited,
Ravens-wing black. Forget talking animals, small men,
enchantments, magic anything.
I was wrong. I wish now for magic everything.
Wish you knew storied tales on how to find your way home.
Leave a trail of breadcrumbs, or blood drops,
Leave the bits of yourself you no longer need,
Slip the pain off, doff the nausea like sealskin, a Selkie:
Your body makes its own evil spells, no need for others.
Each time you stand blood waterfalls to your feet,
Red Shoes you cannot control.
Three years,transformed, from
active teen to my own Sleeping Beauty.
For weeks, for months now, you are mostly asleep.
Your skin, white as snow your hair a crown of gold
Where is my wish for you? Protection, yes.
I wish seven dwarves would
Hi, ho themselves through your veins, mining
your ever forever collapsing vessels.
I find potions to ply you with; mumble
medical journal articles like incantations
Consult oracles, specialists, the interwebs
to unlock the secret, to release you from
this thicket of pain, as your body attacks itself.
I wish for you, a kiss for you
that could rouse you, wake you
set things right. Move us from
This solument place of suspended animation
to a happily ever after.
Marceline White is a Baltimore-based writer. She writes policy, prose, poems, essays, and plays. An artist and activist, Marceline’s writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in Quaranzine, The Copperfield Review, The Free State Review, The Loch Raven Review, The Shattered Wig Review, anthologies including Ancient Party: Collaborations in Baltimore, 2000-2010, and Life in Me Like Grass on Fire. Essays, op-eds, and other writing has appeared in Woman’s Day,Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Sun, and Mother Jones. When not engaged in activism, she can be found learning how to better serve her two cats, posting too many pictures of her garden on social media, and reminding her son to text her when he arrives at the party.
Artwork: Natalia Drepina, I no longer feel your presence