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Dedicated to the care and keeping of brassy women.

ariel’s daughter

poems by Susan Cossette


Peggy Sue Messed Up

Maybe it was the crinolines,
Which itched.
I don’t know.
Or the unrealistic expectations of perfection—
The ideal girl, with her Aquanet curls.

I gave up.

I ditched the dance,
Dumped the dude in the sharkskin suit—
With his flask in the ass pocket,
His whiskey breath and mindless promises
And his cock
Pressed against me during the cha-cha-cha.

I gave up.

Took my yellow Edsel,
Golden chariot—
Drove clear cross town
To the bluffs of Ithaka,
Overlooking the crashing sea

The glittering lights
From the heights
Of the world before me—

The prom queen is complete.
She is done.
You, Neptune, take my tiara.
I never wanted it.

I gave up.


Death by Fairytale

The same fears stalk.
Faceless shapeshifters,
I cannot talk them away.

Your absence.
This terror.
This love,
It invites them back.

They were just an insidious whisper yesterday.

Drink this punch,
My pretty girl–
Eat this apple.
I will depart,
And your heart
Will be whole.

Tricks, and lies.

They’ve multiplied like pet shop rats–
Hissing and cursing sinister shouts,
Pink snouts rattle against the cage.

I am maimed.

I hobble on one leg
In front of speeding cars.

I read by candlelight
With my one remaining eye,
Sticky wax dripping on the gnarled table. 

The music’s muffled,
The radio’s gone dead.
I can no longer hear, or speak–

Crippled mute freak
Madly gesturing with her one good hand.

Come here.
Come back.
Make me whole.
Get the glue and make me new again.

Turn me back into a princess.


La Belle au Bois Dormant 

No man ever kissed me into life.

 But I awoke, clawed up,
From under the pink briar roses—
After what felt like a hundred years
Of over-salted stilted holiday meals. 

Your barbs still stick in my flesh,
Passive words of indifference,
Served over dry gingered Swedish cakes and tea.

Lost in a bland suburban day dream,
Stuffed head-first into your crystal coffin. 

You never knew, but my eyes were never shut.

I heard everything, I saw it all.
I could not speak,
Gagged, scratching these words on the damp glass. 

Your needs, your needs,
All of your needs, scraping at me—
Angry fire ants on third degree burns. 

Mother, child, spouse.

I bleached my house.
I made it all clean.
I made my hands bleed. 

I watched the hot sun,
The cold stars, the knowing moon. 

They told me to keep going.

Beauty, it will be over soon.
The jealous fairy’s curse will be broken.
You will awaken.
You will be loved.


susan cossette 

what: Poet, free spirit, and unrepentant liberal

where: Crystal, MN


twitter: @poetsusan65

what does womanhood mean for you?
My life as a woman has always been a struggle, a juggling act of dichotomy—between who I am and what I was expected to be.

Susan is the author of Peggy Sue Messed Up, available on Amazon.


© 2018 Susan Cossette • All rights reserved.