Snow White in her glass box is romantic because we are not the dwarves in mourning. We are not asked to imagine that reality; the fairy tale propels us forward to the kiss. We know the story won’t leave us standing alone above a rectangular mound of dirt because as soon as Once upon a time was uttered we were assured of happily ever after.
But imagine it. Think of the dwarves: men who toil in a dark mine and come home heavy-footed and covered in soot. A woman arrives like a sparrow and makes them a home. Both friend and mother, she fills the empty cupboards in their hearts. Then she is an empty building, a comma. Paused: absent, yet present in the world. A body, a ghost in a glass box.
They put you in a box, too, and time skipped forward, as time does. And the prince got re-married, and your children grew beautiful and strong as hammers and had children of their own. And then, Once upon a time, one of them was born with your poems in her mouth, your blue eyes and yellow hair.
You were my Sleeping Beauty, both bedtime story and spinning wheel: a princess and a shiny needle waiting.