Poetry 2012 / Volume 43

The Last Page (Happily Ever After) — Felicia Owens

Any normal, pink-loving little girl uses every
shooting star, fallen eye lash, and flickering birthday candle she has
wishing for a knight in shining armor with a pony
she can ride into her fairytale sunset.
It’s hard to tell a five-year-old that, if she’s lucky,
she still has 80 more years of life left
and happily-ever-after doesn’t come until the last page.
As she gets older, she leaves
her fairytale dreams on her bookshelf,
as men become nothing more than shallow stares and
unspoken-but-still-know-they’ll-be-broken promises;
but she still secretly wishes for her fairytale,
a prince to sweep her off her feet into a land
she’s only ever seen in picture books.
All it takes is a diamond to make her sand castles solidify
into seaside mansions, turn her plastic tea set to crystal,
and wrap her dreams in silk.

Unfortunately I have never considered myself normal
and I’ve always found the color pink atrocious,
but I still have a bookshelf full of fairytales
I once wished would become my happily-ever-after.
I wanted that rough-around-the-edges reclusive rebel
to give me a library of stories
we could read together for the rest of our lives.
I wanted a kiss that would dissolve
all of my daily regrets and nagging imperfections.
I wanted to go to sleep and wake up
to a life better than my dreams
but it started to seem that
only paper could fulfill these fantasies and
I started to wonder what exactly they all meant by
“happily ever after.”

I mean, who’s to say the beast’s abusive temper
disappears when he regains humanity?
How long will the street rat wear prince’s shoes
before he realizes the princess fell in love with his rags?
You can’t tell me the Hunchback was happy as, from the bell tower,
he watched his love ride off with the other, better-looking man.
And who came up with that whole frog-kissing bit?
‘Cause I know there aren’t any princes hiding in Lake Michigan.
How many dwarves do I have to live with first,
because this 5’10” pale princess wants her Charming
tall, dark, and handsome.
But I’m not going to change my body for him,
I don’t care how chiseled his is.
I’m not giving up my voice for anything
because some days I feel that’s the only beautiful part of me.
I really would’t mind a pauper,
as long as he doesn’t mind a starving artist.

I don’t want a man to sweep me out of my story and plant me in his own,
surround me with riches that can come only from the tip of a writer’s pen,
and make me the envy of all my friends.
I don’t want my wedding to be
the day the sun reaches its highest point in the sky,
and watch the rest of my days fade through autumn to winter.
And I definitely don’t want a sequel—they always suck.
I don’t want to go through another harrowing adventure to know
that I am allowed to be happy for the rest of my life.
I don’t want to have to keep proving that our love can last a lifetime.

I want him to sneak onto one of the blank pages at the end of the book,
after everyone thinks I’ve reached the end but really
it’s only the end of the beginning. We have volumes to go and
every word is written in ink pigmented with love and
even if love doesn’t exist we’ll use our imagination and
find new letters to spell the feeling we get
when we look into each other’s eyes and find
the rest of our lives reflecting back.

I already got rid of my evil step-mother in the last volume,
we don’t have any villains to fear because we’re writing this fairytale
and we won’t let anything be stronger than us, not even you or me.

If he can’t do that, then he can keep his fairytale.
All I want is my happily ever after.

One thought on “The Last Page (Happily Ever After) — Felicia Owens

  1. Pingback: Current Issue: Volume 43, Number 1 — Poetry Issue, Fall 2012 | Coe Review

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