A Poem by Jessica Ginting: Unnatural Tales

First day back in school,

the new girl walks in and all the boys stare.

They all said she was cute, but none of them

pointed out her auburn hair, bouncing like

wildflowers in the wind, sharp eyes and a gaze

like sun rays cutting through the room.

 

She didn’t meet my gaze.

The boys were all taller than me, all huddled

together as if this was some kind of rugby

game—that’s what it felt like, a game

that I was never meant to be a part of.

 

We went camping together,

me and her, and all the boys wanted to

visit our tent for late night thrills,

stories in the dark, I was left out

in the dark only to crawl back in

at sunrise. The sun rays cut through

our tent flaps, highlighting her

glimmering auburn hair.

 

I didn’t like it when our camping trip

became ours-and-the-others’ as if nature was

a shared space; in romance novels the princess

and the prince lived together as one natural entity.

But I liked singing to the birds, and she liked

walking with bambini in the woods, we were one

with nature but we did not become a natural entity.

 

We returned eventually,

from our brief trip that was merely a study excursion

for her but for me it was a like stepping into a fairytale.

But fairytales only made room for one princess per story,

I was culled from the narrative when she found her prince.

 

I hopped from one story to another,

determined to find my happy ending; picked a prince,

took him to the woods but he jumped when he heard

birds singing and got jitters when the leaves rustled

ignored the bambini playing around he wanted to play

a very different type of game with me.

 

I was part of it this time.

but it didn’t feel like I was winning. Had it been a

different kind of prince, perhaps auburn-haired with

the voice of a princess and eyes like light smelling like

sweet wildflowers, I would’ve been happy.

Not a mix-and-match kind of prince,

but the meant to be kind of one,

not just a man meant to complete

one half of my fairytale romance.

Triangles for poem Miriam Cocker

Illustration by Rivka Cocker

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