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Sample Poems by Donna Prinzmetal

Snow White: Ventriloquism

So called from the Lat. venter, belly, loqui, to speak (speaking from the belly)...
Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

As if we had a choice.
Suppose you never looked at me twice.

I spit in my palm and call myself lucky. I wanted
to become a new person, doppelganger. Let's say

we would never dream of it. Let's assume we know
better. You wouldn't have looked for me, your
bruised pear smile, there in that configuration of space.

Don't forget, I know you. You are caught in the teeth
of the clock, caught between
reason and forgetting. I am

not the double between
first touch and last. I am your worst
nightmare. Whose face do you see in the dark?

When no one was looking.
When no one would believe me.

To keep them from trifling with me,
I dreamed you were making love
to a startled onlooker on
a black and yellow Formica table.
At the small of my back, the tattoo
you have become is burning. Yes,

helpless apart, it is you I parody,
and I will never forgive you.
I will always forgive you. I can
only hope our lips open in tandem.
I can't hear anymore. Listen:

wait for me, I'm coming.

Briar Rose For Snow White

Even when you are no longer Snow White,
when you wake from your glorious cold apple sleep,
take revenge, emerge hungry

for the right mix of tart and sweet.

The poison was worth everything:
not for the Prince,
the thicket of kisses, the heart he holds
like a leaping fish, the unlikely warning, not

for the father who would give you up for a good fuck. You want:

a black onyx stone, heavy enough
to shatter bone, to heave it

to crack the mirror, not like an egg but like a skull,
the shards of light in your undyed hair.

Chrysalis: Snow White

This is what I imagine will happen:
You just stand therefore
in the white cell of bright,
the open window calling,
tempting like pornography,
my name, hidden under your bed.
I want what you say to heal
this estranged moment.
I see what I see and I dive back in
before the conversation
turns pastel or the teeth part
and a bubble of delight rises to the surface.
Because of this I laugh
and you laugh and we hide in
the back seat of this life
touching the wet
wings of all we have squandered

What You Didn't Know About Me:
Snow White Visits the Mirror World

Cluster of bitter seeds
A translucent sapphire martini glass
A ruby tattoo on the rim
Silver Jesus chain in a dangle
A compendium of snakes
Pearl-handled knife
Geiger Counter
Resident dog treasure
Ornaments on the flame tree
Beads of rain of another century
Unpronounceable Latin
Arias of childhood
Dust of bad luck
Miniature guitar
Less of a tight squeeze
Penchant for chiseled marble
Turtle shell
Alabaster rodent skull
Small soapstone box left on the wet forest floor
Unspeakable regret
Twenty mothers trapped in a bug's eye
Buddhist silence
Purple bruises on my breasts
Outcast syllables
The sleeping page

What isn't in this poem choking the life out of me.

Snow White's Resolutions

I'll talk to him but I won't say anything real.
I'll distrust the helium of childhood,
those pink balloons that fly from my backyard.
I'll tell the truth, except when it hurts someone,
the vernacular of veracity, even when the doorway
is decorated with condoms. I will always hide
from hallucination, never blinking twice.
I will listen to the rhythm of my own pulse,
even when he touches me.
I won't let him touch me.
I will let him touch me, but not below the waist.
I will not look for proof of the existence
or non-existence of god
in my refrigerator or on my scale.
I will not look for halos in the wedding picture
that never was; the shattered rose-colored glasses
can be found in the museum
of the half-full Waterford crystal,
and only the tulips will weep in my garden.
I will not call him; I will wait for him to call.
I will not call him. I'll make sure when I call him,
that I sound uninterested as rain.
I will talk to him, but I won't say anything real.
I'll carry a shotgun glance I can fire at will.
I will meditate on the dappled moonlight on my lawn
and I will expect everyone to be an unreliable narrator.
The phone will ring. I will not reveal this to anyone.
I will not let myself be alone with him.
When I sit in his doorway, I won't
let him see that it's me.