Fairy Tale Eating Disorders

No food is safe in a fairy tale,
a single bite enough to stop your heart,
or put you into a coma.
So who could blame the starving wolf
for wanting to eat Little Red,
suck the gristle off her skeletal frame,
hidden behind her Riding Hood,
the picnic basket a rouse,
so the girls won't notice at school,
her sharp shoulder blades and sallow skin
stretched over toothpick ribs.

And what about Snow White,
who already has texture issues,
she'll never eat fresh fruit again,
or comb her hair for that matter,
because the mirror is back talking,
making her paranoid about the Prince,
says he's got eyes for a skinny maid,
so she'll hide her dinner in napkins,
or discreetly vomit in a chamber pot,
the comfort she once took in apples
now gone to rot.

Pity the witch in her candy house,
luring chubby children into her oven,
having them build their own pyre,
she's too weak to even cut them up,
hopes their flesh will fall off the bone
into her swollen mouth, even a crone
isn't safe these days from poison,
and irrational fear of processed foods.

And Cinderella, slenderizing for the ball,
working her fingers to the bone, blaming
the stepsisters, so she can fit in a size zero,
ride a garish coach, not be the pumpkin
she sees in the mirror, that whispers to her
at night, calls her Two Ton Tessie,
says she'll be alone if her foot cracks
the dainty glass slipper, no one likes
a fat Princess.

Originally appeared in In Posse Review, forthcoming in the chapbook, After the Poison, from Finishing Line Press.


Radish King said…
Oh wonderful, Collin.
Pamela said…
Great poem, Collin.
Lisa Allender said…
This poem "surprised" me.It feels like I've heard it before, yet it sounds "new". Was it changed from when I originaly read, or heard it?
I do think it's a really radical piece--witty and very dark at the sametime!
Anonymous said…
I really like this one.

Arlene said…
oooh, adore this original take on fairy tale heroines, collin! it just sizzles. and WOWZA, atlanta review. **drooling green stuff all over my oldish G4 keyboard**

thanks for sending good thoughts and love!! can't tell you how much we appreciate it.

have a wonderful 2008!

hugs, and cheers —
Collin said…
Lisa...I'm sure you've heard this one before. It's at least three or four years old. It really hasn't changed much from when I first wrote it.

Arlene...Good to hear from you. Sending more good thoughts to you and your mom.
mgushuedc said…
Great poem, Collin!
Collin, this is lovely - quite something to pull off, because many people attempt a tongue-in-cheekness with fairy tale and produce only cleverness. But this has bite and feeling. And lyricism.
M. RuPere said…
yes, great poem - but had forgotten about it - maybe you could move it up to the a-list at readings?
Pris said…
I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Loved this poems each time I've read it.

ox K
Anonymous said…
Collin - I *freaking* LOVE this poem. It just brings to mind straight away one of my fave Sexton pomes from her fairy tale series... ..."not all knives are for stabbing the belly..."

Really happy you posted it. -tanya.
I love it too!

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