Snow White Dreams
Jeannine Hall Gailey
I fell asleep one night after cheerleading practice.
After that, I didn’t wake up.
In my dreams I am trapped inside a television,
watched by a man with no face.
Sometimes I sing to animals who can talk.
I try to open the door of a woodland cottage, full of shadows.
If I scream, no one can hear me. I am an illusion
everyone wants to be part of.
My mother wished me to be beautiful, then hated me for it.
I think she put drugs in my soup.
Men come to look at me, even asleep; they take photographs.
They murmur over red lips, white skin, ebony hair. A teen dream.
Being the pretty one can be so tiring.
I got bored of making small talk.
I suspect I snack in my sleep. My tongue is covered with crumbs.
All the clocks have been set wrong. They’re ticking inside my head.
I swear there are cameras on me. I have become invisible.
The white walls covered in posters and get-well-soon cards
grow dusty, like a tomb. Still, a vacuum
like my cavernous heart; eat it with salt.
Poison me with apples, with ribbons, with combs.
I need someone to breathe new life into this body.
Jeannine Hall Gailey is the Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington, and the author of Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006) and She Returns to the Floating World (Kitsune Books, 2011). Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in journals such as The Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. She volunteers as an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review and currently teaches part-time at the MFA program at National University. Her web site is http://www.webbish6.com.