What should have been but never was.jpg

October 2017

Alison Stone

Once Upon a Time

I was gullible, a trapped
in the tower type,
waiting for rescue.
I ate each offered apple,
practiced dancing with a mop,
grew my hair to a climbable braid.
Nothing.
Feet scrunched into tight shoes,
I slept for days at a time.
Woke grumpy and doped.
Threw my jewels into the pond
and puckered up.
No clomp of hoof beats,
no stranger with magic lips
and an engagement ring.
I tossed crumbs through the bars
to draw the dragon, pricked my finger
on anything sharp I could find. Scrawled
a plea in blood on the castle wall:
My heart is oyster tender.
Take me now.

Still nothing.
Finally, axe in my teeth,
I chopped off my hands, sure
when I was patient, punished
long enough, he’d have to come.


Alison Stone has published four collections.  Her poems have appeared in The Paris ReviewPoetryPloughshares, among others. She has been awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin award. She is also a painter who created The Stone Tarot, as well as a licensed psychotherapist. www.stonepoetry.org 

Emily Corwin