In the End, We Are All Daughters
In the story, the mother loves only the ugly sister,
so we know the ugly sister must be bad, and the one
who is unloved: a shimmer on the face is a shimmer
in the soul, and God looks kindly on clean beauty,
a still white landscape, on her.
The pretty sister must find a real mother,
beneath the water, a Mother Frost, long toothed and ageless,
to love her. In this story, you will
want to be the pretty sister, only daughter.
Not the one who is ugly and lazy as a fern,
For beauty, you prick you own fingers:
let red into every stitch.
Walk yourself back home, find a new home, all gold,
golden hair, golden child. Avoid your little pitch one, sticky girl
who gets too tired to work, lays down in the grass,
does not take the bread out so it burns, does not shake
the apples from the tree. Let her tend your bed,
punch it down so hard the feathers cover all that tar,
your face: Be made avian, skinny
wrists: carpus. This is how to be the beauty you imagined
when your mother first shuttered you into the world. How you’ll remember
you were made from her,
stone from the land, snow from the sleepy sky.
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