Poem of the Week, by Ron Koertge

As a little kid I had a baby doll I loved and played with, but no Barbies – I hated them. They scared me. Maybe because they were so grownup-looking. Those big boobs, the feet permanently stuck in a pointing-down position. I didn’t want big boobs, high heels, fancy clothes.

Ken creeped me out too – that coiffed hair, that shoulders-back confidence, that gleaming I’ll be the decision-maker here, little lady look in his eye. It all gave me the willies. It still does.

Cinderella’s Diary, by Ron Koertge

I miss my stepmother. What a thing to say,
but it’s true. The prince is so boring: four
hours to dress and then the cheering throngs.
Again. The page who holds the door is cute
enough to eat. Where is he once Mr. Charming
kisses my forehead goodnight?

Every morning I gaze out a casement window
at the hunters, dark men with blood on their
boots who joke and mount, their black trousers
straining, rough beards, calloused hands, selfish,
abrupt…Oh, dear diary—I am lost in ever after:
those insufferable birds, someone in every
room with a lute, the queen calling me to look
at another painting of her son, this time
holding the transparent slipper I wish
I’d never seen.

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Words by Winter: my podcast