Donkeyskin

by Midori Snyder


There was the sight

Grey and monstrous, rubbed with ashes and grit

Father's skin in the moonlight, shadows from my door

His jaw stretching into the room


There was the smell

Rank and cloying, the tang of smoked flesh

Father's exhalations on the surface of my skin

A tooth decayed from a hunger for sweets


There was the sound

Parchment crackle as I coiled, a tail sweeping the rushes

Father's breathing harsh, labored as his

Feet slid over the stones to my bed


There was the feel

Stiff and dried, the sinews couched threads

Father's parched hand on my wrist, roped fingers

Snaring my rebellious pulse


There was the taste

Tannery salt, rubbed into the cured flesh

Father's hand over my mouth

The tidal sweat of his palm stinging my lips


Beneath the donkeyskin I lived

Embraced by arched ribs of ivory

Father clamored over the dead skin, but could not

Find me curled in the belly


Later, I stitched the skin to my sides

And fled into the night, the cutting edge of

Hooves striking the granite stones

Shedding stars to light my way.












About the Author:
Midori Snyder is the award-winning author of The Innamorati and other novels, and co–editor of the Journal of Mythic Arts. For more information, please visit her website. This poem was inspired by the fairy tale Donkeyskin.

Copyright © 2001 by Midori Snyder. The poem may not be reproduced in any form without the authorís express written permission.