By V. Bray
I miss my paper dolls
fairy with crystalline wings,
goddess in white robes,
princess in glittering gown.
Each one from an imaginary elfin wood or pixie meadow,
with a different story, a different life
from the one I sat in:
my parents away
to stave off the moods
of my mother’s days at home in bed
or of her frenzied activity when
I watched her
a dragonfly darting to and fro
to no purpose
other than to extinguish her energy.
Fairy, goddess, princess,
I tossed in the garbage before recycling was a thing.
That morning the cardinal chirped at me
while I watered my garden
watching the sleeping moths wake, fly
from the spray to a dry branch but scooped
into his awaiting beak.
Earlier that day the repairman had asked,
‘Well, when do you go to sleep?
I work until nine.’
His blue eyes were intense, searching for an opening,
Is she alone?
I glanced at the men’s shoes by the door,
the Mother’s Day card on the counter:
clues I leave out,
clues I can hide behind.
I looked back at him:
‘We’d better order the part and make an appointment
for another day.’
He tried again:
‘Why, are you going out?’
This evening another moth lands on my glove
away from the onslaught of the water hose.
I wish someone else were here.
To tell the repairman to fuck off.
To water the garden.
So I could sleep.
But I am awake.
I shoo the moth off my hand.
We will survive on our own.
Eddie Vedder still croons
while there’s a hole the size of a sun
and I am falling backwards
onto a sofa
second-hand soft and worn
a fresh spring breeze
cools our faces
lips to lips
arch and meet
in a rhythm of youth
my flower dress over my thigh
a flannel shirt flung on the floor
I long for a moment of bliss.
V. Bray has been a writer since childhood and still has a box filled with her first “books,” usually illustrated with markers and bound with yarn. She writes in many genres, from speculative and historical fiction to poetry. Her work has been published in About Place Journal, Borrowed Solace, and The Writer magazine. Learn more at authorvbray.com.