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Gordon Kippola


Cinderella Fellow

There’s no doubt we lived a fairy tale marriage.

Cinderella was my cross-gender avatar. I was  

script-flipped when my Princess metamorphosed

into a Stepmother of exquisite wickedness.


We were denied natural offspring, despite wizard visits,

and three clomid wishes. Spouse-cursed, I was demoted

to scullery maid, while favored cats played

the roles of haughty step-daughters.


Each failure to assert a Monarch’s will shrunk

my box’s dimensions. My regretted wedding

web became thickset. My silent compliance

kept a brittle peace, keeping her tongue

banked to a blistering smolder.


My villainess became Sister Grimm for our story,

recasting herself as exasperated mother burdened

by the curse of an idiot boy on her blameless back.


I did make it to The Ball, playing Belle

a time or three, my domestic servitude

broken by flamboyant magic words

from a mortal analog Fairy Godmother.


Evil Stepmom had no comeuppance; she didn’t die,

profiting from happily-never-after as years slip by.


One more bit of trivia: truth be told,

the thing about glass slippers? They’re hard and cold.

Nowhere Prayer


Given that my life was built on notions

of reciprocal communication,

a listener would have been convenient,

bordering on essential, one could say.

Would say. Not that self-talk is valueless,

I’d never make that argument. I do

recall witnessing those praying out loud,

seeming quite sincere: not the sort to lie.

Was I seeing polished performances,

or fantasies of fervent moral loons?

Or did God turn his face away from those

predestined to skepticism? I shared

youthful agonies with my creator.

Vacant heavens diffused my stumbling speech.

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