Fairytales

With the first stirrings of memory, she scrambles frantically to conceal
Her nakedness, but he doesn’t notice, who last night couldn’t get enough.
She follows her trail of clothes like scattered breadcrumbs, wanting
Only to escape the wolf unscathed. Her childhood heroines were not strong;
They were women on the run, girls on the verge of falling apart
If there wasn’t a man, a prince or woodsman, to step in and take control.

She didn’t want rescue; or rather, she didn’t want to want it; she wanted control,
She told herself, wanted to be the cunning witch who could magically conceal
Her fears and insecurities with the wave of her hand. She could tell apart
Fairytales and reality, of course; but sometimes just knowing was not enough.
Belief was a challenge, and believing that a girl raised on fairytales could be strong,
That a girl so ashamed of her own needs and desires could be brave left her wanting.

There were no sluts in fairytales; there were clear dangers in stories for wanting
Too much; she fumbles with the clasps on her bra, fighting to maintain control
Of her breathing. She thinks, this is what modern women do, and fights a strong
Urge to vomit. She pulls on her nylons, combs her hair, spritzes on perfume to conceal
The heady smell of sex when she realizes she won’t have time enough
To shower. She can feel the eyes on her as she walks to the bus, taking her apart,

Piece by piece; the wrinkled skirt and disheveled hair that set her apart
From the good girls, the ones who keep their knees together, their chaste wanting
The substance of ageless stories. Her mother had always said nothing was enough
To please her; she always wanted more, that she had no shame or self-control,
And that would be her undoing. Taking her seat on the bus, she tries to conceal
How undone she has become, and straightens her back, pretends she is strong

And confident, and not the delicate princess her mother had so strongly
Hoped she would be. You are not Cinderella, she reminds herself, you are not a part
Of some ridiculous fairytale. If in her youth, your mother chose to conceal
Her desire like some wayward stepchild, so be it; that was her choice. But wanting
That power over you, being able to pull on those strings – guilt, shame – gave her control,
Made her more wicked than the storybook villians. Loving you as you are should be enough.

She knows these things. Arriving at the office, sitting at her desk, she tells herself, enough.
You are going to push this from your mind, you are going to be shameless and strong;
You are not going to wait for him to call like a princess in a tower. You will take control,
Call him or ignore him as you please, and you will not allow guilt or obligation to tear you apart.
You are not a storybook damsel, a lady in a tower, a puppet on a set of strings, wanting
Nothing more then to be “real.” You are real, with real longings you have no need to conceal.

Today she decides she has had enough of fairytales; it was time to take control of her life,
To live strong and free, without these fantasies tearing her apart. But, in the slow moments,
She daydreams not of spired castles nor chaste kisses, and is disgusted by her wanting.