I.

 

Little girls starving themselves brittle

and family secrets glossed in simper

abide by midnight curfews,

closing their barbed cage doors behind them.

Not women in crimson juice on taffeta,

eyes in conflagration.

Not you.

 

II.

 

When broken birds cannot be distinguished from timber

we’re forced to burn it all.

Reducing the innocent to the ash

you dust on cheeks of snow.

A charcoal mask begging for sympathy.

 

III.

 

Prosaic princes are so easily hoodwinked:

Plastic action figures empty

as dropped goblets just after the crash.

Disentangled from clamshell packages with box cutters,

all twist ties and tape and embalming fluid.

Ferried to yearly balls on golden gurneys

to dens of cougars and sparkle.

 

IV.

 

Shake out your librarian bun

as the dance floor rises to meet you,

for lucite shoes are nothing new

to the feet of a princess.

 

by Amy Friedman

 

Amy Strauss Friedman teaches English at Harper College and earned her MA in Comparative Literature from Northwestern University. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Lunch Ticket, Typehouse, *82 Review, Menacing Hedge, Rogue Agent, After the Pause, Fractal, Extract(s) and elsewhere. Amy lives in Chicago, where she is a regular contributor to the newspaper Newcity.

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