She was the fairest of womankind.
How could jewel green scales compare
with innocence of fine-textured skin?
How could one with jealous pride understand
that kindness is more than skin deep?
Beauty sparkles her eyes, pinks her cheeks.
Because of her naiveté, Snow White
saw the tears hidden behind the brille
covering the serpent’s yearning,
she was swayed by the heart-shaped
face of the slitherer, tattooed bright
hauyne and crimson.
Take and eat, the serpent said, coiling
around the fertile, womb-shaped fruit.
Ann Thornfield-Long has poems and prose in The Tennessee Magazine, Silver Blade, Tennessee Women of Vision and Courage (Crawford and Smiley, 2013) and The Tennessee Sampler (Peter Jenkins and Friends, 1985). She has been awarded a 2017 Weymouth writing residency. Her poetry has been nominated for the 2017 Rhysling Poetry Award. She’s a contributing editor to the literary anthology, In God’s Hand (Writers of Grace, 2017). She’s an established journalist, editor and publisher for regional newspapers and has also worked as a nurse and first responder, and dispatcher for The Norris Volunteer Fire Department. She has taught creative writing classes, and is the sister of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, Dan Luzadder, with whom she maintains great sibling rivalry. She lives in East Tennessee.
Editor’s Notes: Image of “Snow White” superimposed on a green snake complements this subverted sonnet.