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CZ.com | Poems | Cinder/Ella
 

Cinder/Ella

I have cried
Cinderella's tears,
the salt taste
fresh in my mouth,
cinders and dust—
mother, daughter,
sister, step-mother,
mother-in-law—
where is love?

I was born.
That seems to be
enough to begin
the thread of mother/
daughter—
we call it a complex:
suffice to say
to be born female
knits up an old story,
ravels into balled
wool or tangled web,
what I now call

   the mother-knot
            the mother-not.

Not that she
was a wicked step-mother,
my own mother-not;
even Penelope would find
it impossible
to untie these threads
and reweave the bonds
of womb and blood
between women.

Perhaps we should
blame Darwin—
the toughest ones
survive—
and I was weak,
a born dreamer.

It took me fifty years
to understand
the power women wield,
not always for the good.
O nurturing gender.
O destroying goddess.
Cinderella grew up,
dried her tears,
found her prince
and danced the night away
in glass slippers.
Don't we all thrill
to a happy ending?
Everyone, of course,
except the jealous
mother-nots...
and still the knot
continues to ravel/
unravel/ knit up/
unwind/ bind us
and call us home
again—
prince and slippers,
carriage and pumpkin coach,
wicked witch,
cruel step-mother,
fairy godmother,
mothers lost/ and mothers
found/ finally
to mother earth,
beginning at our end.

 

Copyright by Carolyn Zonailo: www.carolynzonailo.com, 2004

 
 
CZ.com | Poems | Cinder/Ella
 
 
 
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