Archives for posts with tag: fairy tale

What’s-his-name

You’re asking me
to do the impossible,
I pleaded with him
as he turned the key
in the lock of the heavy
door. And then I was alone.

Surveying the piles
that towered all around
my little stool, the smell
of straw overwhelmed me
and I cried.

But then I heard a strange
sound: the skipping of tiny feet
belonging to a horrid creature
with the twinkle of a deal
in his shrewd eyes.

Curious and more than a little
desperate, I dried my tears
on the hem of my skirt.

By the fading pink
of twilight, by the cold light
of a moon ray wafting through
the bars of a tiny window,
he worked night after night.
He worked for me, but
he did not work for free.

We exchanged fortunes,
my jewels for his miracles.
But after his third rescue
he struck a cruel bargain.

It took sleepless nights
of sleuthing and prayer,
but in the final hour
I was able to call him
by his real name
and let me tell you,
he hated it.

He returns sometimes
in my dreams, always
to claim my child,
and always with
his foot in my door,
hissing vile things at me
with a voice like death itself,

and every time,
with my baby cooing
in my arms, I firmly
refuse him, trembling
and fierce: Not me,
not my daughter.

His eyes smolder
with evil. Enraged
by my courage, he turns
positively senseless,
sputtering strange things
backwards, broiling with rage
over losing the deal and so much else
he was sure he could claim.

Not me, not my daughter.
I know your name.

Claire Juno, © 2017

…inspired by the fairy tale, “Rumpelstiltskin”.

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Fairy Godsend

You are just a pair of boots, I realize,
and I shouldn’t really be this excited about you,
but I wasn’t expecting you to arrive in the mail today.

And then this package came and I was afraid
to open it and see you for myself, afraid
of what my impulses had rendered that night
in the online auctions.

There was something about the tension
and the thrill of it, and attempting to believe
that my status as winner or loser did not depend
on a ten dollar used shoe purchase.

This emotional vacillation led to confusion
as to whether I really, really wanted you
in the first place.

But secretly, I did — in my other life,
the one in my mind, where I am happy,
because you transform me out of my rags
and into my ball gown self.

So when I pulled you from the tissue paper,
I marveled at your velvety brown smoothness,
and those pretty buckles, and even though
I was wearing old socks, I couldn’t resist
trying you on right then and there.
I slipped into you so perfectly,
I let out a gasp.

It was as though you had been always intended
for me, from some little shop with a cheery cobbler
who makes only Very Special Boots, far removed
from the cruel deprivation of Cinderella realities,
of the nameless and unheard.

Though the rest of me was still very much a mess
inside and out, I felt transported in that moment
to the other side of a magic window, where the life
I had gazed upon was finally mine.

It was hard to watch that night as the minutes
counted down, but impossible to look away.
I had done all I could do, made my best offer,
knowing there were no guarantees.

And deep down I knew if I lost you to another,
it would be a crushing defeat too hard to bear,
after the near-daily reminders of other losing bids;
the finality of auction endings, clocks winding down,
and no second chances.

Claire Juno, © 2013

…inspired by the folk tale “Cinderella”.