She Asks for Dresses

by Caitlyn Paxon

Bring me a sea dress
Deep blue like my eyes
Grasping, dark, drowning waters,
Tempest tossed, full of the cries
Of dying sailors
And their mourning wives,
Dripping pearls like tears,
Sand coated in lies.

Ocean birds twine my hair up into knots,
Grey feathers rustling by my ears.

Bring me a moon dress
With silken veils of
Brittle silver spider threads,
So fragile, so pale
Pale like my mother
Lying dead and frail
A woman-shaped husk,
Empty, life curtailed.

Moths beat their paper wings against my face,
Leaving faint bruises on my lips.

Bring me a sun dress
Precious metals twined
Searing hot and twisted cords
Gold and longing close combined,
Dragging down to ground
Digging in my spine
Burning flesh away;
Peels your skin, and mine.

Salamanders wind round and round my limbs,
Blackening my wrists, my hands, my feet.

Bring me a skin dress
Ugly, coarse, and rough,
New skin, to begin again
Donkey thick, and battle-tough;
You will not know me
With my voice turned gruff
And my soot-stained face.
I pray it will be enough.

I pray that it will be enough.

Caitlyn Paxson is a writer, folklorist and musician. She has a degree in writing and cultural history from Marlboro College, and has pursued studies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France. She currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario, and is working on her first novel for young adults. The word "cherry" makes her think of "The Song of the Wandering Aengus" by Yeats. Probably because she's pretty much always thinking of Yeats. And it has apples, which are kind of like cherries, right?

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