Rose Red, on the Occasion of her Sister’s Marriage
My sister, a second apple on one branch.
My shadow, the abnegation to my desire.
My mirror, in chiaroscuro—
The color palette divides us like a pane of glass.
You could have been me, or the other way round.
I spoke louder, ran faster, burned brighter
Because you needed me to.
The wolves of the forest do not understand
Sweet words—only movement and bared teeth.
Without me, they would have gobbled you up.
But at home, at our hearth,
I could be me, which was almost you.
We could be two apples, two shadows,
The same face rendered twice—
Once in pencils and pastels, once in ink and oil.
Our beautiful bear-prince halved us, sister.
You wanted his paws, his hands in your hair,
His pelt, his flesh to keep you warm at night.
I felt his growls shake your bones, my bones
As I lay alone in our narrow bed.
Now when I look into a mirror,
My reflection is still: there is only
One apple, quartered,
One shadow, twisted,
One Rose, withered.
Sara Cleto is currently pursuing her PhD in English at the Ohio State University. She enjoys fairy tales, coffee, and obtaining more stamps on her passport. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Cabinet des Fees, Eternal Haunted Summer, Niteblade, and others.