When I think about Cinderella,
Now that I’m middle-aged,
I’m beyond the glass slippers,
The fairy godmother, the gourd
Subbing for a Rolls; it’s those lentils,
That bushel she had to sort
To get to the ball. The impossible
Task presented so reasonably.
If you’ll only…
I like the quantum slip in my hands,
The gentle percussion of their shells.
It doesn’t make it any better,
The fucking-over. I can’t decide
If it’s meant as a lesson for a girl
To learn without knowing it,
How it’s going to be, no matter
How hard she tries;
It won’t be as difficult when it keeps
Happening, because it’s written into
Her, like the tone of her voice,
The way she blinks in the sunshine.
Or maybe it’s a message for the woman
Reading to her daughter, saying See,
There’s always someone ready
To box you in, to write you off,
To tell you it’s too bad you’re not good
Enough. And to remind you there are mice
Who will help, vermin with their little hands;
Before magic, before miracles, the moon watches;
There’s someone small willing to help.
Daisy Bassen is a poet and physician who graduated from Princeton University’s Creative Writing Program and completed her medical training at The University of Rochester and Brown. She’s been published in Oberon, The Sow’s Ear, and [PANK] among other journals. She lives in Rhode Island.
Photo of Elizabeth Warren’s 2019 Oakland rally by Gage Skidmore.