The Snow Queen

Richmond, Maine

A little girl looking at the birches

Stoops in the snow by the stream

No mittens

She breaks the thin layer

The ice lodges rapidly downstream

She fills the plastic pail with cold water

Her eyes squint in the sun and she imagines

Great things

The water is heated up

In the trailer

No insulation and only a hole in the floor

To shit in

Frost on the bedroom wall

Her mother reads from Revelations

The girl knows she is a terrible sinner and worse, a girl

Her father curses and bellows at a round wooden table

Of merry men

Snorting and guzzling

Deals are made

All the while her hair is tangled, and her clothes are weird

She has promise

Judgement is at hand

Also, casually from a godless view too

From all angles she is not good enough

Aunts furrow their brows at the dirty smiling girl

As if she was the Queen that brought it all about

She understands every opinion and every silent insult

Nobody loves her because nobody is capable of love

Her life is a dress poorly made

Loose stitching, bunches of bleached material fading

Zippers that don’t budge

Shoestrings that can’t bear to be tugged on

The whole outfit of life

Not good enough to go out into it all

And be something

Shame is the name

Buttons with frazzled thread

Years later but still young

She ends up sitting by a pool on a sunlit day

Her legs calmly dangled in the water

Her natural smile with freckles and long curly hair

The prismatic shadows of pool water dancing around

And she is noticed as the most beautiful girl ever seen

Still every hand that touches her, she yearns for them to be soft and caring

Is lifeless dough, egg and milk that falls onto her, mis-measured

I married that girl

I fail her everyday

Now we hide the hard, hollow chambers from our children

The places where the lamp long ran out of oil

Every morning in desperation

To fix what has been eternally broken

Sometimes we dance and laugh

And snow lands harmlessly outside

Amongst the thick undergrowth of new forest.

There is no path to her heart

I sink into the deep snow, pull myself up by precarious twigs

Scan the streams and find the narrow way to get to the place where nobody goes.

I find her.

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