The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®

 

Anum Sattar

Fairy Tales

 

                        I
On the stream bank scattered with hay, twigs and pine cones
I flick fat flies from my mistress’ swishing black pony tail
Underneath a lantern lit with fireflies of snow.
A gardener of love, I coax, flatter and tease her
To cultivate the soil in which will bloom a rosebush;
A pomegranate romance; a honey sweet apple
From the tiniest pips of my affection.
But sometimes a wicked witch, I comb her curls.
Unhappy and unwilling she frets, spits seeds
And twists her un-kissed, shimmering mouth
Before she blows the candle out and buries her head beneath the covers.
There is nothing like a romantic evening at our home.


                           II
Placing the newspaper aside at last,
I lose myself to the canvas of her face
For her pretty picture can always amuse any man bored with reading.
But was I not a stable boy riding,
Was I not the blue bird alighting upon a branch of her finger?
And had I not travelled to the hill of her beak,
Would lovers now be able to lie there as well?
Someday I will turn into a tree, deaf to her sweet nothings.
All her heart-shaped carvings going up and down my white trunk.


                            III
Hard at work as always, my Snow White polishes silverware
And places the cutlery into the cupboard of my neck.
Graceful as the wind she picks
Our crumpled leaves and strews them on the rug.
But on her way back she exclaims,
“Good gracious,
You are not the prince!
Put these clothes back on,
Before I cut your forest off.”

Anum Sattar

Parenthood

 

Ever wondered why 
The seven dwarves chose to shut  
Snow White in the small clock of their cottage? 
 
When they unbolted the door at twelve o’clock sharp
After being dulled by their work in the mines 
The little girl could not help but coo
 
“Welcome, my men!
I have cleaned our humble home
And cooked a scrumptious stew!” 

Can you imagine why
The mischievous elves
No taller than your thumb

Stole an infant
And replaced the baby with their changeling
While the poor mother was sound asleep?

Why would Rumpelstiltskin,
Bent on his sausage knees  
Beg the miller’s daughter for her firstborn? 
 
The fiend was such an ugly thing,
An imp whose cries would shatter you to pieces 
If you did not spin the straw.

But lying awake in their little beds, 
All fairy folk dream to possess a child. 
To be a Papa or a Mama.  
 
And when denied the gurgling infant 
When refused the chance to push the wailing pram
No wonder such a creature will split into two
 
Into a hairy, elongated root—like a carrot— 
A head of lettuce, unfurling—like Rapunzel’s hair—                  
Growing in a garden upon unfertile soil  
 
Beside a house, 
Of multiplying rooms but with 
The crib of the nursery still bare…


Anum Sattar

Another Myth About The Garden

Her husband thought of her a sturdy oak 
which would bear the mighty blow of his axe.
Though she, a mere sapling, a toothpick stuck
in his teeth, could not bear his reprimands. 
 
Abusive, he tried to pluck her blossoms 
to fill his empty vase with their fragrance. 
Thorny, she bloomed for her own happiness
and struggled to avoid a flowerpot.

Then tired at last she showed her thorns to him
and teased him with rose hips beyond his reach.
But with one swing she collapsed at his feet
and then in his garden outstretched she lay.

He tilled her yellowing leaves into mulch
and prepared the soil for another bush.

 

 

 

ANUM SATTAR is a freshman studying English at the College of Wooster. The American Journal of Poetry is particularly pleased to present these three poems as her first ever publication of poetry.

 

 

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