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Under this dim bathroom lighting /

a spectre looming / my face leers

bathed in ochre-tinted darkness /

My flaws can hide in these shadows /


While I am not coated in foul soot /

charcoal from the fireplace ashes /

I am still unclean / tainted by imperfection /

fire roaring against the mirror glass /


These blemishes are my cinders /

but at least I can paint some semblance

of a face / concoct normalcy

with my arsenal of cheap lipstick and eyeshadow /

I cake my face / in a desperate attempt /

to suffocate my lips eyes and nose /

smothered / stuck in a beautiful scream /


A cacophony of stepsisters jeers inside my head /

Staring into mirrors / I see them:

just slimmer, clearer, brighter versions of myself /

A siren song of temptations / of criticisms /

their beautiful smiles hypnotize my thoughts /


My godmother doesn’t sing to me /

doesn’t dry my tears / or smile

with her bluebird-colored eyes /

she, too, is only my stepmother in disguise /


Her finger jabs through swirling glass

of this mirror / and towards the corner /

where a pair of glass slippers wait /

heels rise like silver needles /


They glimmer like jagged ice /

like when the sun reflects

across the desert / to form a glittering mirage /

and I reach out to brush the glass

with eager fingertips /


“Ha! Your feet are too big

to be seen as beautiful.

You cannot fit in those shoes,”

croons my reflection.


And I smile / “Who said I ever intended to wear them?” /

I take one glass slipper / glittering like sweet starlight /

and lunge at my reflection /

glass breaks / showering like diamonds /

and I am caught in a swirl

of shooting stars /


I am Ella / cinder-free /

Ella / covered in magic /

in swirls of sapphire and brilliant silver /

Ella / crying because finally

my stepsisters are silent /

and I am beautiful /


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