Sharon Discorfano received her M.A. in Literature from Georgetown University. Her writing has appeared in various poetry and literary magazines, in magazines such as Animal Wellness and VegNews, and online sites such as ASPCA Parents, Animal Legal Defense Fund, and Hills of Africa Travel. She also has published two books: Letters To Pushkin and Stellar Vegan Salads. She currently lives in New York with her husband and dog Galileo. For details about other publications and writing projects, please visit sharondiscorfano.com.
Frilly like a fairy tale complete with a medieval witch:
the white canopy twin bed, this six year-old asked
please place the headboard under the windows
without explaining it's so when those piercing, petrifying
neon green eyes peer into the room
searching in the dark for little children
she will not see the sleeping child right beneath her gaze,
only a desk, always kept tidy, on the opposite wall.
The witch fades from imminent threat to nightmare to
figment of other little kids' imaginations
barely there though never completely scrubbed away
Like the scene of stick figures and sun,
an oil-based makeup coverstick mural by baby brother
that insists on bleeding through coats of paint,
that will bleed through year after year.
A new white canopy, twin traded for full,
A new arrangement, now the headboard hides his artwork;
like later, when strategically placed clothing
conceals scars inevitably accumulated. Until
Old enough now to move things around on one's own
with the requisite restlessness of a teenager
Without asking for help
dragging one piece at a time
inches at a time
another configuration negotiated in these same boundaries.
Bed now facing the windows, the world
out there (no longer looming but waiting).
Under the same patchwork canopy of pastels and ruffles,
bargaining with God, streaming tears
in the hours children should all be sleeping:
the terror of the medieval witch, distilled into
the possibility of a B+ on tomorrow's exam.
At fifteen, parents provide
an unprompted push away from girlhood:
out goes the little-girl bedroom set,
in comes the king-size waterbed set.
The canopy, now all wood and crossbeams.
Forget what you grew up with. Forget the ruffles.
Forget this neighborhood where everyone knows each other,
where men are the providers and girls grow up to be mothers,
bake cookies for the class party.
But this is better. Look:
a headboard elaborate with mirrors and shelves.
The mirrors above you, a construction
A canopy that creates the illusion of more space
rather than closing you in.
Here's a platform for you,
complete with extra drawer space below
for whatever you collect,
all the trappings of you
lucky post-sexual revolution girl. The world is just waiting
for you to decide what you want from it.
Instead, this teenager contracted under the covers,
stared into the mirrors only to scrutinize herself,
kept Mom's oatmeal cookies tucked away in the shelves.
Those shelves, another part of this unspoken scheme,
a mandate to fill with books and papers, as if to say
Look I am accumulating things,
Perhaps I'm even amounting to something.
All this happening without her consent, without any conscious
Decision to go one way or the other.
Like Peter Pan, she could
spend her time searching for her shadow,
self-exile to Neverland,
or succumb to the Spell
so much more powerful than the clutches of any witch.
Stretched out in the bed alone, one could
so easily lose oneself to its comfort,
or to its demands — You decide.
One could choose to feel
reveling in something solid right beneath you,
keeping you afloat.
But soon it settles in: the sense of being
by furniture now too heavy to move.