Concrete: "Slipper"

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    You can ne-

  ver wash off the

 soot. It remains —

deep, encrusted beneath

the skin, cascading an aura

of dust invisible to all but fairy

godmothers, hovering in the peri-

 pheral, their incandescent wings

  thrumming quiet judgement. Well-

   bathed,   doused in lavender oils,

    draped     in blue silk, hair pinned

    in pearls,   neck adorned in jew-

    els, I can      still smell the embers

   that were       my only embrace for

    so long.         Waiting to wed my be-                         trothed, I can

    see my           stepsisters stand, unsmiling,            but  relieved,  freed

    from                their mother's plans by my good fortune. As I kiss my husband,

    I won-               der if I'll ever grow accustomed to decadence, if the linger-

     ing                       bitter taste of charcoal will ever leave me after years

     of                               soft living in this great castle — I hope not.


Author's Note: If the concrete image of this poem falls apart for some reason (if you're reading this on a mobile device, for example), I've attached a photo so you can see how it's meant to look.

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