Elena Bauer

Elena Bauer is a senior currently concluding college from the attic of her parents’ house in Bellingham, WA. She is majoring in English Writing and German Language and Literature. Mostly she enjoys puns, alliteration, and mountain bike riding. She would also like to share that the Germans have invented new words for the pandemic, including Impfneid (envy of people getting the vaccine) and overzoomed

A Sleeping Beauty Story

Honestly, I thought I was supposed to kiss it,
when it jumped into my bath. Wake the frog, and
end up with a young prince sitting on my breasts.
Instead I end up with an infant between my legs.
 
But she was precious, ugly with her smooshed face
and bloodied hair, her wide mouth screaming at the world,
yet still precious and mine to teach and love,
mine to raise up strong, to be a queen, my dear Rosamond.
 
The king did not come in until she was clean,
not until her tufts of blonde hair shone in the candlelight,
not until the maid dressed her in a pure white gown,
not until she slept quietly, and I clothed in my newly pressed nightdress.
 
Then he gushed at her beauty, her smooth skin,
her red cheeks, her long dark lashes. I waited,
until he left the room to plan his party, before lifting my child
to my breasts, letting her put her lips to work in her own time.
 
He kept running up the stairs to give me updates,
the cake is chocolate, the theme is baby pink,
how original! But, oh no! he only has twelve forks,
a catastrophe, should he cancel? No, he’ll use brass for the rest.
 
He made me leave her with the nurse, while the party raged,
then he had her laid (he’d never lift a finger himself)
in a pearl-studded wicker bassinet, and the guests lined up
to admire, to pay their respects, as though she were deceased.
 
My baby cried for me, pale eyes searching the unfamiliar faces
as she was promised beauty, wealth, and virtue. My sweet girl
screamed as she was told she’d have the temper of an angel,
the grace of a flower, the voice of a nightingale.
 
The wicked fairy then rose, brass fork gripped in her palm.
She looked me in the eye over my baby’s suddenly silent body.
My husband cowered behind his manservant. My child would be a dunce,
stupid enough to prick herself with a spinning wheel and die for it.
 
I stepped between my child and this devil, turned my back
and engulfed my fingers in the warmth between the folds of silk
and my Rosamond’s tiny form. I made my own promise, whispered
into her rosy little ear, I would do everything in my power to teach her of the world.
 
And my girl grew up strong. I taught her to read and write. I taught
her to look before she leapt and to leap once she looked. I taught
her to treat others with respect, but only if they respected her. I taught
her to ask questions whether or not she knew the answer just in case she learn something new. 
 
I longed to teach her to thread a needle without a heavy thimble
to make her clumsy and get in her way, but he would not have it.
He would hide danger from his beautiful angel, for she would know nothing
of hell, nothing of pain, nothing of self-preservation.
 
I cry for my baby, remembering every day that I spent teaching, all the days
guiding her chunky fingers over parchment, all the days watching
her lift her skirts to jump over the stream in the garden, and the one second
it took to draw blood and lay her down to rest for a hundred years.
 
I tried. I wrapped myself beside her and closed my eyes tight.
I listened to her slow breaths, felt the warm air, and the pulse at her neck.
But I could not sleep. I promised her I would sit and watch her
as I did when she could fit in the crook of my arm.
 
I failed her again. I told the king we must stay with her,
she was not gone, not dead after all! The good fairy promised,
she would wake, she had time to grow into a woman,
for she was still a girl, but he could not bear his own failure. 
 
I will never forget. My miserable tale faded from people’s minds.
My daughter’s life washed into a myth, her slumber into a challenge,
and me, every night, in my dreams, pushing through the thick wood,
to kiss her forehead gently and breathe life into her once more.

PMS

Marvelous
A marble less
Than before. Manic,
Inherently inherited from the
Roommate, who ruminates
Without an inkling, inked
Into the pages of an ad:
Fund a Mental
Person today!
Fundamentally placid, placated
By a ghost, like no apparition before.
The screwdriver, the driver of the screw,
Always putting a wrench
In the plans, a limb to be broken,
We’re unlikely to branch, blanch?
At a Nimbus 3000, flying in the clouds,
Suspended in suspense, suspicious
Of life through the glass.
Pining, hoping against hope,
Pining against pine,
Cones mixed with coins
But who coined the term?
Infundibulum