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What they don’t tell you about being a mother
is they don’t even ask you to try on the glass slipper.

The prince looks you in the eye and asks for your
daughters. You’re dead before the story even starts.

In your heart, you’re the sister of the seven ravens,
climbing the glass mountain to save her brothers.

You’re the girl with the basket full of bread and cream,
who wandered somehow into this life.

Whether you ran from the wolf or took the path
of needles doesn’t matter: the gingerbread

is burnt, and you’re all out of poison.
Good luck finding the story in this tangle

of spindles and cauldrons and vines.
After all these years, all you can hope for

is a moment at the end of the day,
a mirror to look—silently—into.

This story is not about vanity.
It’s about staying alive.



Mary McMyne is the author of poems, stories, and essays in venues like Gulf Coast, Apex Magazine, Southern Humanities Review, and Pedestal Magazine. She has won the Faulkner-Wisdom Prize for a Novel-in-Progress, an award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and a National Endowment for the Arts Parent Fellowship to Vermont Studio Center. Her debut poetry chapbook, Wolf Skin (Dancing Girl Press, 2014), won the Elgin Chapbook Award.
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6 Jul 2020

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