August 6, 2020

Throwback Thursday: Dishwater Dreaming, By Debby Zigenis-Lowery

Editor’s note: This is so direct, so hopeful, yet with an edge to it. I hope you’ll love this gem from 2017 as much as I do!

Dare I hope?
Steaming water reddens my hands,
Skin once white as apple blossoms
And smooth as velvet petals.

The prince has asked for a cake baked by me…
Did he see?
How could he see
Beyond this stinking
I wear?

Dare I hope
He has seen beneath this shaggy skin?
I rinse a heavy pewter cup,
Take up the next.

Once I caught the eye of a king.
I shudder.
How the thorns and branches of the wood
Tore at my face and hands
As I fled
My own

But this time it is a prince,
Young, winsome.
I rinse the last cup,
Dry them all quickly with
The rough,

I shall sneak into the orchard.
Aye, when I am done.
The apple trees are blooming,
Their petals will be just the thing
To transform these work-worn hands
To the hands of a queen.

Debby Zigenis-Lowery is a reteller of folktales, a historical fantasy novelist, and a poet. You can find her blogging at or indulging in her favorite addiction at


Lissa Sloan said...


Debby Zigenis-Lowery said...

Thank you so much!

Dona Fox said...

Dishwater Dreaming captured the lingering sting of the father's betrayal, the underlying yearning, and rising spark of hope that had not died, this was all done so well I was moved almost to tears. Thank you for sharing your amazing talent, Debby Zigenis-Lowery.

HulderMN said...

Those hands, once transformed by agency, will never be what they were when innocent.
But it may be enough to snare a prince and ensure a brighter, better enlightened future.
I love this! <3 <3

Katew said...

Good analysis! 😊

Diane Perazzo said...

This is beautiful! To me, it speaks of aging and how our routines of everyday life can still be enchanting and full of hope!

Katew said...

Routine can be what saves us in so many circumstances.

Lynden Wade said...

Great to see a lesser-known fairy tale get an airing. I loved the note of hope, too!

Katew said...

Me too! I love it when the lesser known ones get a redo. It doesn’t happen much.

Athalia Norman said...

I'm so glad for this Throwback Thursday post. I must guiltily admit my intention was to skim, but then I couldn't help but read word for word. The more I see, the more I feel like I've stumbled down a rabbit hole. How textured this poem is in its appeal to the senses. Branches tearing, velvet petals, stinking pelt--I enjoyed reading because though the piece is short and sweet, it's so rich. Thank you so much for creating it, Debby. Have a great weekend!..and I know this is an old post and I haven't checked, but I sincerely hope you are writing still. Peace.

Katew said...

I hope to see more from Debby as well.