Cinder

By Carol Matos

 

As if born into a pink species

she seeks hues of her favorite color—

 a singular passion like a prospector panning

 for gold in a cold river. She wears blushing

 dresses and only removes her crown

 before sleep. In the morning she pulls

my hand, rushing us to the bathroom,

 holding up her layers of gown.

 On the toilet she asks, pretend

you’re the wicked stepmother! I demand

she cleans the sooty fireplace and then go

 to her room in the attic.  She takes hold

 of my chin, directing my face

 towards her magic. No,

I will go to the ball and move into the castle.

 Her daily searches are winks

that say, “I am”—a cloud of sparks

where she can almost bear seeing

 her baby brother in her mother’s arms.

He pays tribute with joyous shrieks,

 unlocking the world around us,

 chants his want for more.