Worth the Wait, By Jeana Jorgensen



I didn’t always flinch at kindness
but now a stray hand at my elbow
to steady me while carrying trays
crumples me.

The first year after I left,
I was only good for washing dishes,
leaving my fur matted with water and lye
while my eyes stared unseeing.

There is no story to remember:
here I am only a scared animal
that does as it is told
with quickly-working sooty fingers.

The second year after I left,
something inside me unfurled.
Whatever my father reached inside me and broke
stirred just a little.

Pastry blossomed under my fingers
transforming into sweet buttery shapes
with only a few stray hairs
and people noticed.

The third year after I left,
the cook stopped scolding me
the maids stopped teasing me
and if the prince noticed, I didn’t.

I wove a beautiful thing
and only later knew it a net,
too absorbed by suds and sobs
that came on suddenly.

The fourth year I could breathe again,
wear the dresses without shuddering,
touch and be touched without freezing,
and I noticed the prince noticing me.

There is no story, but this is the truth:
a powerful king takes what he wants,
a mourning daughter yields,
a wise prince waits.

No godmother aided my flight.
I asked for the dresses on my own.
I did not escape unscathed.
But I did not let him attend my wedding.

It took five full years until I was ready
to drop my ring in the prince’s cake batter
and reenter society on my own terms.
He’s worth the wait; so, I learned, am I.


Jeana Jorgensen holds a PhD in folklore from Indiana University. She currently teaches folklore, anthropology, and gender studies at a Midwestern liberal arts college, while both publishing academic research and blogging about folklore topics, feminism, and sex education. She directs a dance troupe, Indy Tribal, and her poetry has appeared in Stone Telling and Mirror Dance. Her personal essay about divorce was published in Split: true stories about the end of marriage and what happens next. She can be found on Twitter as @foxyfolklorist and her blog is located at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/foxyfolklorist/.

Comments

  1. I loved the focus on healing and moving on in her own terms!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

AUGUST 2018 ISSUE - Table of Contents

Sun, Moon, and Talia, By Giambattista Basile

FAIRY TALE FLASH - Braids by Amanda Bergloff

Snow White, By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, 1812 Version

THE ARTIFACTIUM by Rebecca Buchanan

TELL THE MOON YOUR TROUBLES by Joanna Z. Weston

THE KNIGHT AND THE KING by Christina Ruth Johnson

DOTADOKO or THE BRIGHT RED EARRING by DJ Tyrer

THE KAPPA by Kelly Evans

Fairy Tale Flash - Stepsister