by Jeannine Hall Gailey
I'd rather be mistaken for an animal.
If you knew what I ran from,
how my mother cursed me with golden hair, this face.
She left me a father obsessed with her image.
I fear your eyes, just as I feared his.
This coat offers shelter.
So you put me to work in your kitchen, assumed
I was a magical beast, or a lunatic child,
and I keep dropping hints in your soup:
one night, a tiny spinning wheel,
the next night, a gold ring
trying to tell you who I used to be.
I can dance just as I used to dance,
in dresses shining as the stars,
in dresses pale as the moon,
but I am not the same princess.
In older stories, where I am a saint,
I never even get to the safety of you.
My disguises fail. I am found by my father.
Sometimes, he cuts off my hands;
other times, he cuts out my tongue.