Slow-Wave Sleep with a Fairy Tale by Erica Dawson


I knocked out Sleeping Beauty, fucking cocked
Her on the jaw. She fell into the brier.
Pussy. I found her prince. I up and socked
Him, too. I called each one of them a liar.

I damned the spindle’s hundred years of sleep
Because I rarely sleep. I cursed the birds
Who took their heads from out beneath their heap
Of wings. When lovers look, they need no words.

And when a hound came running after me,
A Redbone with a smile bearing its teeth
So white, I woke up with the majesty
Of princesses who lie there underneath

A spell of something better still to come.
My eyes were blurry, my mouth dry and dumb.



Read TJ Jarrett’s interview with Erica Dawson in Women in Form



Erica Dawson’s second collection of poetry, The Small Blades Hurt, was published by Measure Press in January. Slate says, “She generates great energy by pulling at the impossible and sometimes pleasurable tangles of what is constant in us, and what is disposable in the world.” Her first collection, Big-Eyed Afraid, won the 2006 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize and was published by Waywiser Press in 2007. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Poetry: A Pocket Anthology, Harvard Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other journals and anthologies. She is an assistant professor of English and Writing at University of Tampa.