Sunday Poem, December 2, 2012
Undergraduate Creative Workshop Fairy Tale
I need more consistent mirrors in my life,
the woman thought to herself, the story begins.
I like how you opened with mirrors, someone says.
I like how you opened with consistency.
When the woman lived in Los Angeles,
dirty bad things happened to her neighbors.
Then the woman moved to New York, and
made dirty bad things happen to the characters
in her short stories about people who live
in Los Angeles. I need more consistent mirrors
in my life, the woman thought, and so she
made a house out of mirrors inside a circus tent
near the dirty bad ocean. Dirty bad people
everywhere read her short stories and felt
whole again, recognized, justified
in their lifestyles. This was her fantasy.
All day long, the woman worked
in a cubicle she had decorated with faux
morning glory vines and paper
snowflakes and Easter eggs
and pictures of her friends’ babies
and thought about the stories
she would write when she got home,
but when she got home she just slept,
and when she slept, she died,
and was born again in Los Angeles.
I like the part where the character
goes to Heaven except it’s not Heaven,
it’s Los Angeles, and God is the ocean.
I disagree, someone says, I don’t think
that’s believable. For Valentine’s Day,
the woman sets two of her characters up
on a successful first date. The women
in the woman’s story has cervical cancer,
but she doesn’t know that yet, she gets to live,
just this once, in sweet oblivion, sweet
chocolate-covered strawberry Heaven, close
to God, and the man she will love for three pages.
—Leigh Stein (2009)