Stepmother Jealousy

61 4 4
                                                  

“How lovely would a child who seemed
as white snow, red blood, black wood be,”
said a queen one midwinter day,
nine months before she passed away.

That night she died, her child was born:
a daughter. But the king, forlorn,
ignored the girl, his wife’s own bane—
Left his daughter without a name.

After a year, the king did find
another wife, lovely and kind,
but humble, young, and doubtful of
The sincerity of his love.

The king noticed his new wife’s doubt,
and did scour the land to seek out,
one golden magic mirror tall,
To name the fairest of them all.

The queen accepted—how could she not?

The gift that her husband had bought.
“Mirror, ah, mirror on the wall…
who is the fairest of them all?”

She cringed and feared the witchery,
But “You, my queen, of all I see—
you are fairest of all the land.”
The queen hid her mouth with her hand.

“I… see,” she said, and went away,
But her king was to be obeyed,
So once a week, she did return,
To ask the mirror those curséd words.

The first queen’s child never was named,
“Snow White”, “Rose Red”—all the same.
The queen rather liked “Ebony”—
but “Snow White” the girl chose to be.

The princess grew, mostly by night.
The queen herself sought ways she might
help the poor girl, whose mother’s wish
left her uglier than most fish.

“Who curses her daughter to be,
such a blend of all that she sees?
That she had stopped with one—or two—
Three’s too many; what shall I do?”

The princess knew she’d never be
as lovely as Stepmother Queen.
“Likely would help,” she sadly said,
“with a silk bag over my head.”

“Nonsense!” replied Stepmother Queen.
“Your looks are strange, I know it seems,
but surely someone will like them.”
The princess truly was a gem.

The queen thought hard and bit her lip,
“Perhaps you should go on a trip.”
Snow White frowned and asked what was meant.
“No prince will bid on me, absent…”

“No, no—I’m your stepmother, hence…”
It would work, she thought; it made sense…
The queen took Snow White up the stairs,
up into the old mirror’s lair.

The queen carefully stood aside;
in the closet, Snow White could hide—
or so she’d tell the guards, at least.
“Ask the mirror,” she said, lips creased.

The princess frowned and did as tasked.
“Who is fairest of all?” she asked.
“You are, my princess, of the land—
Every prince will demand your hand.”

The queen shrieked and yanked Snow White back,
giving the mirror a strong whack.
She smiled at the pieces, at the shards.
“Now, you run, dear, and tell the guards—

“Tell them I’ll kill you if you stay,
since jealousy does work that way.”
The princess blinked and fled that night.
The queen smiled at all set aright.

Evil stepmother she would be,
to give choice of grooms to Ebony.

©2011
I wrote this years ago, for a friend.

Eyes Wide Shut: a collection of poetryWhere stories live. Discover now