SIX POEMS FROM THE SERIES FREE ASSOCIATIONS ON FAIRY TALES
SNOW WHITE and THE SEVEN DWARFS, PART I
It is only in summer
that she dreams
cool coverlets of white
free of the hints of dirt
and piss that shade reality.
On sultry nights whitecold she feels
it melting from her heat, the moonlight
making it sparkle, adding sheen to her
moist flesh. Only in summer, long
after winter coats have been mothballed, snow
shovels hidden behind mowers, bags of mulch, rakes,
do her dreams crystallize--
no two of them alike. It is then her mind drifts,
becomes desirous of cool white
flakes falling on her tongue, longs
for the very thing she'll curse
a few short months from now.
(Previously published in: Spire, Vol. 3, #10)
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, PART II
Lighter even than his pale
skin, the yang-shaped mark
outlined on his cheek. Scar-tissue white,
it is almost invisible
to eyes less discerning than a mother's.
At his delivery the doctor, giving in
at last, called for forceps, swearing
it would do no harm; then,
after the baby emerged,
a swatch of new-formed flesh torn
from his perfection, swore again
that in a year,
two at the most, there would remain
no trace that he had been yanked
into the outer world.
A man now,
she spots him
among the row of other graduates.
From this distance
the small white patch
unseeable, even by her.
Later, she'll kiss his cheek
in congratulation, allow her lips
to softly brush the scar
which will forever
as her own.
(Previously published in: EVENT, Vol. 30, #3)
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, PART II
Next door, the old woman red-
faced, wet wash gathered dripping to her
corset-stiffened chest, mouth
jammed with clothes pins, pulled out
saliva-wet, to fasten greying-whites to the
sagging line. He watches,
remembers , the girl
who came to help out just last week.
Closing his eyes he tries to picture,
the way the old woman's over-sized panties
caught the wind, slapping the girl's chest,
wetting her white
tee shirt, defining breasts still capable
of defying gravity, still ignorant
of what is to come: a man's
lust, an infant's urgent tug. Try
as he may he cannot shake
from his mind those nipples, erect,
polka-dotting the transparent cotton, disturbing
the perfection of white on white,
his peace, his mind.
(Previously published in: The Fiddlehead, #214)
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, PART V
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
Her motions cause his thoughts to kaleidoscope--
the morning after the snow
when he sees her
the young woman next door, looking
so little out there,
wearing that red thrift-store cape
the one she always has on, hood covering
her long auburn hair.
Young enough to be
oblivious to danger, old enough to
know better. Take care, take care,
my dear, he'd like to call out to her, but
instead he watches as she glides, red
brushing the snow, riding
the ice-slick path, melting
his thoughts, becoming wine, no,
port staining the damask
white drifts...thoughts of cranberry
red nipples, an auburn tufted triangle
at the junction of alabaster
longs to follow
as she sweeps down his street, longs
until even the faintest hint
of red vanishes.
(Previously published in: Vallum, 3:1)
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, PART I
his angry shout
has become a bullhorn
he sputters, the needle
of his brain caught
again in a scratchy groove.
His face slowly fills with red,
a character in some grotesque cartoon,
she's sure she can see the vein
on his temple throb. Nearly fifty years
of shouts, accusations, fists and so much
more: her only peace the times he went off
to fish, or hunt, war or
when he could no longer kill anything outright,
to the pub to relive past slaughters. You..you...
he starts again, his mouth
open so wide she sees the pink
plastic gums of his upper plate, You
don't know Jack!
Since his stroke, this
is the best he can do. She smiles
at him rooted in his chair
in a voice even he can hear,
"Oh, but you're wrong. All those times
you went away I got to know
Bill down at the gas station
and Frank over at the Market and, yes
your very good friend Jack, too."
(Previously published in: The Grist Mill, 2006)
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, PART II
[and] THE BEANSTALK
She is tearing up
an old bed sheet. Ripping
strips that will soon
tie tomato plants, heavy
with bounty, to the stakes
she's fashioned out of branches,
victims of last season's ice storm.
Her daughter, ancient
at twenty three, can not understand
why she wastes her time this way.
Why all this ripping and whittling
when garden stores sell
everything--all sorts of plastic
this and that--which, her daughter knows,
will work better, look nicer.
One day, years from now
she will tell her about the hours
she spent as a child helping
her mother and grandmother, of the countless
hours of tearing, whittling, staking, weeding,
picking, cooking, canning, serving.
Explain how every time
she drives a stake, ties
a beanstalk she
can almost see the family
farm her grandmother used to describe, hear
the voices of all the women
who came before
(Previously published in: Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review (US), Vol. 6, #4)
RONNIE R. BROWN lives in Ottawa (Ontario, Canada.) She holds an M.A. (in Creative Writing) from Concordia University (Montreal, QC.) Brown has taught literature, composition and creative writing at Concordia and Carleton Universities. Her work has appeared in over 100 magazines and anthologies and has won a number of awards including The Acorn-Plantos People's Poetry Award (in 2006, for STATES OF MATTER.) Brown's sixth collection of poems, ROCKING ON THE EDGE (Black Moss Press) was released in 2010. She was recently named the winner of the Golden Grassroots Chapbook Competition for her long narrative poem, "Un-Deferred."