Monday, November 28, 2016

"Princess Tea Party" by Mary Soon Lee, Frequent Contributor

Princess Tea Party
Mary Soon Lee

Three days after the party
I threw out the rose
they presented to my daughter
as she sat in her princess dress,
holding her brand-new princess doll.
Easy to discard the rose,
but not the memory
of twenty little girls
with pink tiaras in their hair:
fat girls and thin girls,
quiet girls and chatterboxes,
sipping apple juice tea
from twenty tiny cups;
twenty would-be princesses
waiting through the stories
and the songs
and the presents
for Her, the Princess Aurora,
and then the minute,
or less than a minute,
that she spent at each table,
smiling for her pay.
What happened to me?
What turned me into a collaborator
in that festival of pink,
I who had thought my daughter
would play with rockets,
climb trees in jeans?
Now, under my daughter's spell,
I tell myself
there was nothing wrong
with her pretending
the princess would lift her
into a fairy tale;
and nothing wrong
with my pretending
that all twenty little girls
would grow up
to be engineers.

Poet's Notes:  I wrote this poem after attending a Princess Tea Party with my then four-year-old daughter at Disney. It was a bizarre event, with a crowd of little girls in fancy dresses riveted by a woman playing the part of a fairytale princess.

The first draft of the poem was too long. I trimmed it down a few years ago and then trimmed it further a few months ago. Sometimes it takes a while before I can consider my poems with detachment.

In the meantime, Lucy has grown to a marvelous eleven-year-old. She no longer plays with dolls, rarely wears pink, and has listened to "Hamilton: An American Musical" approximately five hundred times. 

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