Against Cinderella


I can't believe it.
Whoever made it up is pulling my foot
so it'll fit that shoe.
I'll go along with martyrdom:
she swept and wept; she mended, stoked the fire,
slaved while her three stepsisters,
who just happened to oblige their meanness
by being ugly, dressed themselves.
I'll swallow that there was a Singer godmother,
who magically could sew a pattern up
and hem it in an hour,
that Cinderella got to be a debutante
and lost her head and later lost her shoe.
But there I stop.
I can't believe
that no one but one woman in that town
had that size foot, could fit into that shoe.
I've felt enough of lost and found
to know that if you lose your heart
to anyone you've crowned into a prince,
you might not get it back;
that the old kerchief trick,
whether you drop a shoe, your clothes, your life,
doesn't do much but litter up the world.
That when the knock at last comes to your door,
you might not be home or willing.
That some of us have learned to go barefoot
knowing the mate to one foot is the other.

- Julia Alvarez (buy her books!)

No comments: