What the Mirror Wants You to Know

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What the Mirror Wants You to Know

Flash Fiction

by Beth Sherman

That stepmothers have an impossible job – they can never replace an angel-wing parent. That her husband – a woodcutter or a hunter, does it even matter? – was a louse who never paid her any attention. That her pointy green chin has more character than Snow White’s doll cheeks. Each age spot on her hands a perfect kiss. That her eyes are two nightingales lost in the woods. That she smells of cinnamon and honeysuckle. That the curve of her throat is the prettiest hook. That the thunderclap of jealousy could never be boring. That she only asks Who’s the Fairest of Them All? because every other question is a dandelion in the wind – weed-useless, scattered. That Jonagold apples, flushed red, thin-skinned, are sweet, yet tart. That she longed to save her stepdaughter from a life of drudgery with seven tiny men who forced the girl to cook and clean for them all day long, to save her from becoming lonely, despised, proud. That she always knew a Prince who only loves a pretty face is someone who won’t hesitate to stray. That she is a Queen without scepter or throne. That at Snow White’s wedding to the king’s son they made her wear slippers dipped in fire, and she danced in the flaming shoes until she turned to ashes. That not every story has a moral. That if she ever took him off the wall, he’d like to go to Venice with her and ride in a glass-bottomed boat, kissing her reflection in moonlit canals. That love is a fairy tale told by a fool. That he too contains poison, in the form of mercury. That he would have danced with her in the dove white ballroom, her fingers caressing his silver frame, twirling, spinning to violins until he slipped from her grasp. That shards splinter into stars, into jagged bits of rain.  

Mirror Illustration
About the Author

Beth Sherman has an MFA in creative writing from Queens College, where she teaches in the English department. Her stories have been published in Portland Review, Blue Mountain Review, Tangled Locks Journal, 100 Word Story, Fictive Dream, Flash Boulevard, Sou’wester and elsewhere. Her prose will be featured in The Best Microfictions 2024 Anthology and she’s also a Pushcart and a multiple Best of the Net nominee.