|Kate Schmitt's Singing Bones won the 2013 Zone 3 Press Creative Nonfiction Book Award. A writer and visual artist, Kate Schmitt has an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. Her work has been published in a number of anthologies, including Earth Shattering Poems (Holt, 1998), Light Gathering Poems (Holt, 2000), I Just Hope It’s Lethal (Houghton Mifflin, 2005), and The Weight of Addition (Mutabilis Press, 2007), as well as the literary journals Paradigm, Birmingham Poetry Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Louisiana Literature. She was a nonfiction editor of Gulf Coast and served on the journal’s Board of Directors in 2008-2009. She has also edited and written for the companion website to a pilot television series created by Shelley Duvall, a wind energy company, and most recently for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Her courses include nonfiction and poetry workshops, 20th-century literature, young adult literature, and Chinese literature in translation. |
[once upon a time]
Snow White in her glass box is romantic because we are not the dwarves in mourning. We are not asked to imagine that reality; the fairy tale propels us forward to the kiss. We know the story won’t leave us standing alone above a rectangular mound of dirt because as soon as Once upon a time was uttered we were assured of happily ever after.
But imagine it. Think of the dwarves: men who toil in a dark mine and come home heavy-footed and covered in soot. A woman arrives like a sparrow and makes them a home. Both friend and mother, she fills the empty cupboards in their hearts. Then she is an empty building, a comma. Paused: absent, yet present in the world. A body, a ghost in a glass box.
They put you in a box, too, and time skipped forward, as time does. And the prince got re-married, and your children grew beautiful and strong as hammers and had children of their own. And then, Once upon a time, one of them was born with your poems in her mouth, your blue eyes and yellow hair.
You were my Sleeping Beauty, both bedtime story and spinning wheel: a princess and a shiny needle waiting.
- Excerpt from Singing Bones
Read More from Kate Schmitt:
"Cassandra in Therapy," The Potomac
"Alternate Ending: My Grandmother as Gretel," The Rumpus