Fairy Tales for Writers: The Little Mermaid

A sample poem from Fairy Tales for Writers:

Fairy Tales for Writers: The Little Mermaid
by Lawrence Schimel

She gave up her voice for him,
learning to mimic the minimalist style
he advocated in his workshops.

They had met at a conference.
He was one of the guest lecturers,
and all during his talk about passion
and craft, he kept his eyes on her.

In the one-on-one discussion of her work,
he complimented her form
and said she showed tremendous promise.
The things he could show her…
His deep-timbred voice was full of assurances
and innuendo, and she succumbed to both.

She slaved to scrape together
enough money to join the MFA
where he taught, working double shifts
as a waitress that sent sharp pains
shooting up her legs from being on her feet
all day and night.  She had no time to write.
But she bore it all silently, buoyed by the memory
of their time together at the conference,
and the promise the future held.

At the cocktail party, the night before
the first day of classes, where the students were
to meet and mingle with the faculty and each other,
he introduced her to his wife,
who had also once aspired to write, but now
was content to remain in his shadow,
to be seen on his arm when he won awards and
to look the other way when he followed
his wandering eye.

Copyright © 2007 by Lawrence Schimel. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint this poem, please contact the author c/o the publisher.

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