P O E T RY Chelsea Rathburn Postpartum: A Fairy Tale e p Th ages of our storybook childhoods were ripped from the Brothers Grimm, the woods always in shadow, the apples poisoned, the ladders made of bone, our mothers telling us early how much they loved and loathed us: how my aunt had wished to find my cousin drowned in the washing machine, while my mother hoped her cat would climb the walls of my crib and steal my breath. Our longed-for endings told gleefully and in the passive voice. o Th se days were gone, they told us, but we wondered. If, as Bettelheim writes, the witches and giants in the brutal fairy tales are really stand-ins for the parents the child is afraid to fear and love, what did we make of our mothers’ revelations, which made us the monstrous creatures, changelings left by trolls? That they could not, or would not, save us. That we had to learn to walk the woods alone. SUMMER 2 018 • THE MIS SOURI RE V IE W 1 45 Introduction to Patriarchy For a while we found them everywhere we looked, tucked in our brothers’ closets or slipped
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Jul 20, 2018
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