Noelle O'Reilly


I read to her at bedtime but I change
the scary words. The crooked, jealous queens
dismissed as harmless, just a little strange.
Aurora's finger prick at age sixteen
was just a slip that led to healthy sleep.
A father leads his children into woods,
but no one starves or chills or even weeps.
And wolves make lovely pets for girls in hoods.          
What happens when she finds out I have kept
the tender cuts of bloody human hearts
to feast on by myself? Will she accept
a mother she finds feeding in the dark?
I will not take the risk. She'll stay inside,
know what I say and take what I provide.






The idea for this sonnet came while I was watching The Little Mermaid with a friend’s little girl. I had forgotten how different the Disney story was from the one I grew up reading, where the sea witch’s house was made of skulls and the mermaid killed herself in the end.