Calving Ice: Snow White & the Queen

Monday, December 19, 2011

I wore a corset of glass;
my waist a tinder box,
each poor step combed
through carpets.  The wild
bred down to tincture.

Then she came: hair coiled into snakes,
brazen jewels, tattoos twining
her arms. Queen of another
country. In her secret

lonely room, she looked
into water
her face rippling
into my face.

At first, the girl didn’t understand the pleasure of her plainness.
How the whole of her, ignored, had been at peace
shielded in the space left by her lack of loveliness.

Each woman, she told me, is a queen taken apart;

But I who was raised as queen and wife
on the chessboard of kings,
knew the mirror well –

The mirror speaks (you see) and
depending upon sight or light
is cruel or kind.

But the girl had her own misery—
growing lovelier by the hour—
without it.

I didn’t want her mirror.
I saw in people’s faces
the hunger
beauty creates:

First the eye widens—
the gaze, like a hand,  stretches towards you

eager to touch—and once

the heart, the lung, the liver.

My Fate:
like ice—timed
to disappear.

Here is what I learned as The Girl;
For Beauty you are cut like a diamond
cleaved, held
to a lap,

indexed and soldered with wax,
searched for flaw,
covered with shellac
rubbed and scoured
with the jeweler’s
rouge,  bound
till all facets are smooth—

though later
you’ll crack.

We have no pen, no paper
to write our story.

We scratch our marks
on the backs of your mirrors
between the lead and glass.


Veronica Golos

Veronica Golos

Veronica Golos is the author of Vocabulary of Silence (Red Hen Press, 2011), which just won the New Mexico Book Award (2011). In 2004, Golos won the 16th annual Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize (Story Line Press) for her book, A Bell Buried Deep (to be re-issued by Red Hen Press). Ms Golos is the editor for 3:a taos press, and Literary Consultant for Heather Mitchell of Gelfman-Schneider Literary Agents, Inc., New York City.

Ms. Golos has been an award-winning curator and teacher for Poets & Writers, Poet’s House and 92nd St Y/Makor in New York City.  Her work has been published and anthologized nationally and internationally, and adapted for theatrical productions in New York City’s Theatre Row, and the Claremont Theological Seminary in California. Her poetry was the centerpiece of My Land is Me, a four-artist multimedia exhibit in Taos, NM that questioned the western view of the Veil. She lives in Taos, New Mexico, with her husband, writer David Pérez.

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