“Fairy Tales” by Gretchen Tessmer

“Fairy Tales” by Gretchen Tessmer

girls say so many
silly things
so I’m at the bar, with my sister
eating pretzel salt
and drinking frozen margaritas
in a summer heat storm, we overhear

“well, I’m not settling
for less than the fairy tale”

the beige version, we hope
discussing, between ourselves
bloody violence
glass mountains
changeling swaps
witch hunting
poisoned apples

not to mention cutting Grandma
out of a living wolf’s skin
and which underpaid chambermaid
was selected to clean up that
macabre mess, well
I guess we’ll never know…

our speculation turning to probability
and a true accounting, complete with
profit sheets

calculating that for every white knight
who slays the fearsome dragon
there’s likely a second one
both stronger and wiser
wilier and winter-born
who inevitably
(and with one casual bite)
eats the hero whole

Gretchen Tessmer is a writer based in the U.S./Canadian borderlands. She writes both short fiction and poetry, with work appearing in Nature, Daily Science Fiction, Strange Horizons and F&SF, among other venues.