Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011 v10n1
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The Dressmaker’s Daughter

Born into the roaring 20s
with nothing to hold onto,
no banister on steep steps

winding to her aunt’s dim flat,
a musty old maid’s lair
of yellowed doilies and tea cozies,

she went dark early, terrified
by birds, their feathers
making her lose breath.

Some say her twin, a pouch
of hair and teeth, lurked
inside, waiting to ambush.

Some say her need to please
brought on St. Vitus’s Dance,
the twitch and fever setting off

her cells, but little is known now,
so much gone in silence.
All rouged and sunken, laid out

in a crocheted collar she’d never
be caught dead in, her skin,
lucent as church candle wax,

cold as the gauze-clothed angels
shivering in the apse
between November and forever.  end

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