She lives, more lovely than sweet dreams,
Red berry lips, black hair that streams
In tender breezes through the night
Lit by starlight and pure snow white.
Meanwhile, her mother sits and schemes
Suffocating in her screams
At her own beauty’s furious flight,
Old age’s creeping, seeping blight.
She is the Queen, and her regime’s
A bloody plot of swift extremes.
Her daughter’s heart would taste just right.
She opens wide and takes a bite.
Through woods and thickets of thorny themes,
Snow stumbles through a night that teems
With lurking lowlife. Shot by fright,
She runs, and running, learns to fight.
Finally through the gloom there beams
The warm and friendly homelike gleams
Of seven gems. They are polite;
Snow’s safe and snug at last? Not quite.
The lonely door has lost its seams,
Squeaks open for a witch who seems
Kindly, but murders with all her might,
To be the only belle in sight.
The tables turn again. Fate deems
The daughter live. The mother steams
In oven shoes, dancing her spite
To death, ever bitter and tight.
Mary Meriam’s poems have appeared recently in the New York Times, Poetry Foundation, American Life in Poetry, Mezzo Cammin, Measure, Light, Think, Sentence, and Rhythm. She is the author of The Countess of Flatbroke (Modern Metrics, 2006) and The Poet's Zodiac (Seven Kitchens, 2011).