Jen Rouse

Considering Characters

I have never aligned
myself with princesses.
Of course, they are
never lesbians;
even the bookish ones
fall for the boy in the end.
I think there must be better
bargains to be struck
with evil queens. I enjoy
a murky forest,
something slightly toxic
for a nightcap, and a
snappy cape. I would
rather go up in flames
than be saved. How about
a sassy sneer, a flick
of an exquisite wrist,
and all that
disturbing backstory.
She might be someone
to kiss. It’s true, I
like a little unhappy
in my endings.

Jen Rouse is the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, IA. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Poet Lore, MadHatLit, Pretty Owl, The Tishman Review, Inflectionist Review, Midwestern Gothic, Sinister Wisdom, and elsewhere. She has new work in the Plath Poetry Project, and is the recent winner of the Gulf Stream Summer Poetry Contest. Rouse was named a finalist by Ellen Bass in the Charlotte Mew Poetry Chapbook contest. Her chapbook, Acid and Tender, came out December 2016 from Headmistress Press. Twitter her @jrouse