You’ve heard my mother’s story
and her rescue by the prince, who
chose her because that glass shoe fit.
But once when we were alone –
a rarity – Mother whispered the cost
of being chosen for your beauty.
No longer confined to sweeping
ashes, cleaning, cooking, mending,
she showed me how her life
had narrowed in a palace she can
never leave. No more walking among
the trees, no talking to birds.
The servants work for the prince
and every one of them’s a spy
who reports on her movements.
They make up stories of her smiles
at visitors, accuse her of singing
with the moon. They watch me too,
but I can disappear into the woods,
disguised as a servant carrying water,
sweeping ashes, chopping wood.
About the Author
Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, and taught workshops on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self, and her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Adanna Literary Journal, Poet Lore, Slant, The Nation, and elsewhere. She lives in rural central Virginia.