Poem: I Am The Ugly Stepsister

This is a reprinting of this poem which was originally published in Dreams and Nightmares magazine.  This poem was also nominated for the Rhysling Award in 1998.

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I AM THE UGLY STEPSISTER

by Judy Goodwin

I did not think myself ugly

Before the birds pecked out my eyes.

My mother told me I was

Beautiful, like a fine jewel; jewels

She wanted to adorn my throat with-

Mine, or my sister’s–it was a

Competition.

“Follow me,” Mama said, “Follow my

Orders.”  She promised me a prince–

She loved me, I know she did.

Why else would she fight

That wretched girl so bitterly?

But when Mama told me,

“Cut off your toes; a princess

Does not need them,”

I doubted; for a moment there, I

Hesitated.

And staring at the glass slipper, I

Realized I could never be

Beautiful, or loved, by

Anyone as I was

By Mama.  For who else

Could stand by, not flinching,

Not even a flicker

Of revulsion or remorse, as her child

Mutilated

Herself?

Mother thinks I’m beautiful.

But these days, I begin to

Doubt.

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