Rules of Survival for the Girl as White as Snow

by Divya Mehrish

Don’t let your widowed father remarry—
             that is, if you still want to wake up at dawn
to the sound of your heart beating between
             your ribs. Remember: stepmothers are evil
and vain and bloodthirsty and own talking
             magic mirrors capable of making calculated
analyses of your beauty. Remember: all
             that matters is your fairness. No, not how just
you are, but how pale. The ivory of your skin
             must be as pure as the ebony of your locks.
Your body should mirror a piano’s keys:
             the juxtaposition of black and white will
help you morph into a corpse. Remember:
             macabre is beautiful. Drain your veins of blood—
anemia does the trick. Remember: all you are
             is an orphaned vessel of Once upon a time…
You are your own mother, and your own
             daughter, and your father is nowhere to be found.
Remember: your body is a parable. Your sweet
             song, godless. The apple skin is caught between
your brittle teeth, but you are only Eve
             for a moment since the heavens punish you
as soon as the mortal sin is committed.
             The whole of the human race will (thankfully)
not have to suffer from your naiveté.
             Remember: huntsmen are always bad at following
directions and spurting a few fake tears may save
             your life. Trust yourself, but mostly the seven
little men whose cottage you wander upon.
             Remember: when someone is enamored of you,
they become obsessed with you (times seven).
             Embrace necrophilia when it gallops up to you,
locked away in your glass casket (believe me,
             in the depths of a forest, glass can materialize
out of thin air). Remember: you are nothing
             more than a damsel in distress. Yet you are
immortal. You are fated to live happily ever
             after if 1) you marry the royal necromaniac
2) you invite your stepmother to the wedding
             and 3) avenge yourself by forcing her to dance
in a pair of scalding iron slippers until she drops
             dead. The End. You are happy forever (and ever
ever and ever), a malefic wretch wed to a shallow
             prince she just met. Neither virtue nor love matter
in this fairy tale. Snow White, named for the color
             of your impossible skin, you are in desperate need
of a fake tan. What I mean to say is that in this
             version of the story, we can only take you at face
value. Rewrite the end of your fable—teach us
             your morals. Let the spring melt your snow, and let
us marvel at the fiery hues of the earth hidden beneath.