"As a sophomore, she came in second to Sylvia Plath in a poetry contest. She longed to beat Plath, her nemesis. Later, though, she would toss her head and say, 'Just as well I didn't win.'" --Tad Friend about his mother.
Fairy Tale Ending
Each time it floods, the propane tank becomes
dislodged, resulting in a maple smell
in my apartment—leaking gas. The first
time it occurred, I spent the night downstairs
in a spare flat. The second time, I wedged
the doors and windows open, less afraid
of bugs that might creep in. Then after that,
the screens only. I ached the whole next day.
Last night I woke up cold and closed them all.
Turned off the fan. To me, the head-inside-
the-oven-trick has always seemed absurd,
some self-inflicted gingerbread-house end.
Why be the witch? I woke this morning dis-
enchanted, like all sleeping princesses.