This story is paired with “Cinderella” from Children’s and Household Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free.
A carriage would have sufficed, but I went to the
ball having sworn to my dead mother that I wouldn’t
curse you, her broom-bearing stepchild. I, a damsel in
distress, demanded my due, and back then I believed
every frog might be a prince so I’d try on slippers and
forbid myself from feasting. I started to hate your song.
Godmother saw that I was falling from grace, and you’d
have pulled me out of Fairyland right then and there
if she hadn’t guarded my secret like an enchanted rose.
Just the one spindle prick…but looking in the mirror, I
knew there could have been others. So I went East and
listened to the crows. They told me to walk a hundred
miles in iron shoes. To trample him in my thoughts and
never to return again. That is, not until I could finally
offer the huntsman my heart. And I did. And for all my
penance? Nothing. Midnight had come and gone and
quiet mice, quiet pumpkins, quiet thimbles were all that
remained. True love is a test in and of itself. You could
see that all along, you with your handful of beans, trying
to teach me patience. But weren’t you supposed to be the
ugly one? Didn’t your breadcrumbs lead us here? How
vexing, for you to’ve said goodbye by hemming my gown
while I scratched out your name and your seven O’s and
X’s in the scattered cinder soot. The hugs and kisses were
yesterday. Today, I brave the brambles of the path that
zigzags through the forest: today I head for your kingdom.
Liv Lansdale is an English major at Columbia University and Poetry Review Editor for poetsatwork.com. She likes dogs, but likes better a sentence from the 18th century by Mary Wollestonecraft that refers to men as “bugbears.” She is on the lookout for the perfect mojito.