about the author

Liz N. Clift holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Iowa State University. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in RATTLE, Passages North, Hobart, and others. She lives in Colorado.

Bookmark and Share


font size

On Loss and Having 

Liz N. Clift

Alternative content

Charming keeps a loaded pistol on the nightstand,
and that’s not a metaphor. There’s a rifle beneath
the bed, blackout curtains over the windows, and
two more guns, disassembled, in the master closet,
and though he never points one at her, not once,
they haunt her, and she imagines taking the pistol,
placing the barrel in her mouth, tilted up, can almost
taste the metal, and her finger itches at how easy
it would be to pull the trigger. She is no Cinderella,
no lush blonde hair or bright blue eyes or tiny waist
with perfect feet that snug into a glass slipper, and so
when he begs for sex, she does what he wants and later
lobsters her skin in the shower. She takes up running,
and skips meals and poses for the pictures he wants,
hopes they never wind up on the internet. There’s no
happily ever after, this is not a fairy tale, they end
like so many do, without fireworks or fanfare or
enchanted singing mice, but like the slow disfiguring
of a candle burned too long. And on Easter, years later,
there’s another prince, who carries a gun and a badge,
and he is no Charming, though twice he charmed her
into inviting him over, and when she says no because
she no longer believes she has to be Cinderella—
another candle of a man loved her enough to teach
her this—it doesn’t matter, and somehow this is so
much worse than agreeing to Charming’s every whim,
and somewhere inside her something shatters,
and afterward, she walks into the woods and envies
the simplicity of Little Red’s story, wishes for a wolf.

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...