local_library SNOW WHITE REDUX

by Grace Bauer

Published in Issue No. 146 ~ July, 2009

The mirror has always been merciless-

a wicked stepmother glaring

her reflection back at her, snarling:

no fair, no fair.

And that means something.

Gets her story headed off

in a direction that is difficult

to revise. It requires her,

too often, to eat her own words,

compose a smile to camouflage

the envy she is

ashamed to acknowledge,

though it stares her in the face

each time she faces the fairest –

their dumb luck mirroring

her own lack of it,

and always striking her

dumb. But never blind.


He wanted that baby so bad,

he says, he could hardly wait

for its head to crown.

He grabbed it straight

from its mother’s womb, snipped its cord

swaddled it in blankets, and ran

out of that birthing room, right

into a waiting limo, the infant still sticky,

with afterbirth and gurgling for a breast.

Oh, the prized possession of a child

to call his own child, a child to call

him daddy, as he never could his own,

to dangle before the eyes of his admirers,

his adoring fans, who swoon at the mere sight

of him, cheer his every move.

No Midas. No Charming. But the Prince of Pop

walled-in to a self-made Neverland, with no hapless maiden

to help him spin this last straw into solid gold.



First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go.

–Emily Dickinson

Not many have known cold

as I have known it.

The shock of ice on the bare

soles of my feet. The delicate stab

of sleet on my breasts and belly.

Miles from any shelter

I found myself here

in the perfect stillness

of this clearing in the pines

where I discarded pain

like a useless, worn-out

garment and laid down

like a child making an angel

in fresh fallen snow.

And then I rose up

from that depression

in the landscape into a strength

that kept me going, stumbling

forward toward a distant light

that glowed like the rest of my life.

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Grace Bauer's books include THE WOMEN AT THE WELL (Portals Press), BEHOLDING EYE (CustomWords) and RETREATS & RECOGNITIONS (Lost Horse Press). She is also co-editor of the anthology UMPTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A POSSUM: CRITICAL AND CREATIVE RESPONSES TO EVERETTE MADDOX. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she has recently guest edited a special baby boomer issue of PRAIRIE SCHOONER.