Three Princess Poems by Frances Donovan


What Snow White Swallows

ginger snaps /
a matchstick

square pizza in the school cafeteria
her body spreading in the mirror / grotesque

the white cheek of a poison apple
the red cheek of a poison apple

cookies from the keebler elves
grow up fast /
her fault her fault her fault

arnold whole wheat bread /
sweet bliss of chocolate

how it gathers on the tongue and gums
the back of the mouth / turns sour

gathering scabs / three tabs of acid /

doll heads / their china eyes /

paring knives /

your father ruined our lives /

two cups of gin and a cup of juice

what do you mean you don’t know how
to lock the door /
you should have known /
it was an accident / it never happened /

day-glo post-it notes /

thirty red-and-white pills slick as m&m’s /
slither and slide down the gullet
the gateway down

Fox News Princess

Dishes it out but can’t take the extra calories.
Knows a thing or two about two
minutes in heaven with the executive producer.
Always has to show her legs on camera—
heels high, blonde hair blown out,
blood coming from her eyes from her whatever.
Mostly calls her children from the road.
Once had a boyfriend named Mitch.
Truly believes in the cause.
Just wants to get the truth out there.
Believes in a return to family value-
menu Fridays at McDonald’s, thinks food stamps are for freeloaders.
Doesn’t understand all the fuss about quinoa.
Hates echinacea, takes Tylenol Cold & Flu.
Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s May-
Day for the communists. Spits socialism, a dirty word.
Should the government be in the business of redistributing wealth?
Wonders how much her male coworkers get paid.
Sits with erect posture on the Fox & Friends couch,
the better to hide the belly.
Sticks to the talking points.
Is a stickler for details.
Is sick of celery and carrot sticks for lunch.
Attacks the children in a national debate.
Gets fired.
Can’t think straight.
Likes a dirty martini.

Lovers Rapunzel Finds in the Wilderness
after Marie Howe

One with skinny hips and rock-hard calves,
licks her till the middle of her bed is soup.
One she finds stomp-dancing in the club,
hooded eyes and lies.
One glitters on the stage,
whispers filthy worship in the back room.
One with a butt so large it’s a shelf,
her lovely breasts against her narrow waist.
One dark and secret as an ocean shell,
jealous, generous.
One large as the devil and twice as wicked,
quick-flash of his temper.
One a sailboat captain, adjusts the ruler
when she would have steered them onto the shoals.
One with breasts fine as linen,
milk-blue veins beneath her skin.
One with a smashing wig, wooly curls underneath,
holds her hand and kisses her in public.
One whose boyfriend crashes in the bedroom door,
Rapunzel in nothing but a sheet.
One from Goa, a Christian devil, who places
a hotel pillow beneath her to catch the flood.
One whose name she’s forgotten.
One whose face she’s forgotten. And another.
And another. And another.

Frances Donovan’s chapbook Mad Quick Hand of the Seashore (Reaching Press, 2018) was named a finalist in the 2019 Lambda Literary Awards. Publication credits include The Rumpus, Snapdragon, and SWWIM. An MFA candidate at Lesley University, she is a certified Poet Educator with Mass Poetry and has appeared as a featured reader at numerous venues. She once drove a bulldozer in an LGBTQ+ Pride parade while wearing a bustier. You can find her climbing hills in Boston and online at Twitter: @okelle.

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