Rose Red and Snow White
Skin as white as Virgin snow.
Ice crystals grown from dust motes,
Specks of Earth thrown skyward:
Lips as red as pricked blood, first blood,
Unfolding like the Virgin Rose,
Whole in and of herself:
Colors of the Goddess,
Clues this tale is more than it seems.
Aren’t they all?
When Le Bête knocks on their door
Mid-winter, matted ice and snow giving him
A Rasti look, the twin goddesses invite
The Wild in,
Serve him tea and comb his fur.
No sign of gold at first blush.
Then what? Did they watch Jack Frost
Breathe on their windows and listen to
Ice crack into wintry art?
Their version of cable.
Today, would they gulp beer, eat chips,
And watch television, the three of them?
Would Le Bête complain about the
Commercialization of all things sacred
As he clutched the remote?
“Let’s live off the grid,” he’d murmur
While Snow White and Rose Red painted
Their fingernails black as pitch and their lips
Red as a whore’s candied tongue.
Goth or harlot?
Or, perhaps before the Bear enters their domain
The sisters are hippie-girls, wandering, modern-like,
Looking for some thing. Hitching rides.
Living off the land. Eating huckleberries plucked
From their core, the juice staining their lips and teeth
Deep purple. Watching the bloody salmon leap,
They wonder why their mouths water, wonder
What it is they have lost.
Why does it ache so much?
So when a man in gold knocks on their door
Mid-winter, they pull him inside, shining him on.
Until they spot the fur beneath the gold.
They speak in tongues as they
Rip the clothes from him.
He is only a symbol, after all.
The sisters bury their faces in his fur.
When they look down at their own bodies,
They see they have grown Grizzly claws.
They laugh and embrace each other.
The man, speechless, tries to piece his
Gold suit back together. Alone
In the empty cottage, he closes the door.
Outside, the night is wild with beasts.
“Rose Red and Snow White” is reprinted from The Journal of Mythic Arts. Copyright © 2013 by Kim Antieau
Kim Antieau is the author of many short stories, poems, essays, and novels. Her most recent books are The Monster’s Daughter, Ruby’s Imagine, and Under the Tucson Moon, all published by Green Snake Publishing. She lives with her husband, writer Mario Milosevic, in the Columbia River Gorge.