Author: Pamela L. Laskin

You step
into the Zen Palace
like a princess
in snakeskin slippers,
and leave them on the rug
as is the practice,
but now
no one wants them,
not even
the stepsisters
who would prefer glass.

Yes,
even the stepsisters know
you, shoeless,
as someone
who has slithered into their dreams
with the trellises of a princess,
the shoes, the sari,
the smile
of a genie
who dismantles dreams
with a poisoned prayer.

.

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I try on shoes
the way Goldilocks tried three chairs
to find the right fit,

but since there is
no comfortable slip-on,
shoes crawl out of my closet
like an invasion.

I would like to say,
there’s one black, satin pair
I have loved too wisely and well,
or a glass slipper
that fits perfectly,

but I am afraid
at the end of the tale
with all the loafers, oxfords
sandals, sneakers
suffocating
my battered feet,

that I’ll still run into the forest
bare and blistered.


 

Pamela L. Laskin edited “The Heroic Young Woman,” a collection of original fairy tales, published by Clique Calm Books. To purchase, visit http://www.cliquecalm.com.

This
is your favorite holiday—
pretending to be
someone you are not,
not knowing who you are
you try on different masks.

Daughter,
any Sleeping Beauty can tell you
the spinning wheel hurts,
the blood is real
and sometimes HIV positive;

everyone knows
the emperor
is naked.


Pamela L. Laskin edited “The Heroic Young Woman,” a collection of original fairy tales, published by Clique Calm Books. To purchase, visit http://www.cliquecalm.com.