After the Fairy Tale


In stock

poems by

Maureen A. Sherbondy

Poetry chapbook, 38 pages, $10 cover price

($7 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 9781-59948-065-7

Released: 2008





Maureen Sherbondy grew up in Metuchen, New Jersey, and now resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and three sons. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Calyx, Feminist Studies, 13th Moon, Cairn, Comstock Review, Crucible, The Roanoke Review and The Raleigh News & Observer. Two of Maureen’s poems were chosen as finalists in the 2006 William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. Other poems have won first place in: The Deane Ritch Lomax Poetry Prize (Charlotte Writers’ Club), The Lyricist Statewide Poetry Contest, and Gin Bender Poetry Review‘s 2004 Contest. Her poetry has also appeared in many anthologies. Maureen has had fiction published, has written a novella, and is currently working on a novel.



This collection combines the appeal of archetype and the charm of wit with a great dose of wisdom. Sherbondy’s characters, a familiar lot of fairytale and beloved heroes and heroines, are navigated through the straits of reality by an ironic and gentle presence. The lessons learned from these poems are not unlike those learned from the fairytales: Snow White still finds that you can’t take anything at face value, but instead of confronting this painful truth through the vehicle of the shiny apple, she ends up at Planned Parenthood because her prince has no health insurance. Sherbondy’s poems are filled with subtle and pleasurable music, complementing the twist of beloved narrative into resonant truths.

— Patty Seyburn, author of Diasporadic and Mechanical Cluster

Alice at AA

They don’t understand–
it wasn’t a dream or a drunken
stupor, hallucinations. She kept searching
for holes in the ground. During her stormy
adolescence she turned to
gin, whiskey, anything she could find.
Every bottle was inscribed with
Drink me. She heard the sob of
Mock Turtle at night, White Rabbit
tumbled through stars and grass
led her into bars, alleys, dives.
High-pitched screams of the Queen
repeated Off with her head!

She tells about the small door,
how she shrank to Thumbelina miniature
then grew Giant large;
she has size issues, moves from 2
to 14 , back to 2 again. She fears
shrinking into nothingness.

Her twenties passed spent
in abusive relationships with men
claiming to be kings and princes.
Months she shuffled through poker rooms,
searching for the right cards.

Giant teacups clank in the restless air on sleepless nights.
At AA meetings she’s afraid to cry,
not wanting to drown recovering alcoholics
in her own pool of sadness.
She no longer knows what is real
and what is not.

She plays Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on a Walkman,
reads Howl until she recites it by memory,
reads This Side of Paradise until the pages fall out,
removes every manhole cover
searching for her lost youth.


While Sleeping Beauty Slept

When Rosamond pricked her finger
sending her body into the cocoon of slumber
she was shifting inside. She lifted
in flight across night sky, swimming through
the golden sea of stars. The spot where needle
opened flesh, now bled stardust and light;
entire planets emerged from the finger aperture
and flew out of her. New galaxies formed
in her world of darkness.

When Prince Evan pressed his waking lips
against her resting lips, she fell back from the
universe, back to the village, back to the castle,
landing inside royal marriage and family.
A scar on one finger, her daily reminder
of what once surfaced from inside her.


The Good Witch Throws in Her Wand

In her fifties Glenda grows tired
of being good, doing the right thing,
of waving that magic wand
to fix and reverse destruction and doom.
She travels through Florida on a Harley,
bar-hopping, dancing through popular
clubs, slurping Jell-o shots off tan, flat stomachs
of college boys. She rips her glittery gown into shreds,
tossing the garment into the moon’s ocean reflection.
On a shopping spree with stolen credit
cards, she purchases stilettos, leather miniskirts,
red halter-tops sequined with Sexy Witch.
In the end Glenda is penniless and sickly
passing time in a trailer park in Panama City,
nothing to show but bruises, drunken photos,
a decade of wild-seed memories supplanting her good deeds.

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