(2004) mixed states. Stavanger: Wigestrand Publishing.
She has fashioned for herself
of hollowed egg shells
and white thread.
She has taken from the clasp and string
her great-grandmother’s pearls
and arranged the four hundred sixty-eight
to hang in their stead.
An undergarment of ivy,
woven to lift the dry shells
from her naked collarbones,
is interwoven with the wild orchids
that adorn the bodice.
The crinoline is formed of dried bundles
of bugleweed, saved from midsummer picking —
eight times in youth,
and twenty-seven times
She has trimmed the hem with holly.
A train of evergreen.
She saves for the last
to tie the knot.
Breaking the thread with her teeth,
sliding the needle into the cushion,
leaving open the door
to the coop.
Bugleweed is traditionally gathered by young women in Sweden on St. Hans’ Day. It was believed that if a virgin put it under her pillow that night she would dream of the man she would marry.
Copyright © 2004 Ren Powell. All rights reserved
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