P O E T RY Vanessa Stauffer Queen Anne’s Lace In the meadow across the road from the house she’s growing up in, the girl wades hip-deep in weeds, her unhemmed cuffs stained green in damp dusk. Each fiber makes a wick or a stem, a vein drinking up water or flame from the soft ocean smoking mist between straight stalks, the corn neatly rowed as the lines in the books she spends whole days in, home alone all summer in the kingdom of her mind. Nights she is afraid of the sky hollowed cobalt at its center, pale horizon fading fast, like the bottom dropping out of the carnival ride, the spinning drum pressing her into its curve, the metal hot against her back, her brother laughing when she cries. Sometimes her mother makes her zip up a dress from the hand-me-down bag her cousins left behind, poses her in the meadow with a flower from the garden— elegant flag of iris, a tulip’s perfect cup— so she can take a photograph. When the prints arrive in their envelope, the girl’s smile looks uncertain, her head turned to follow the camera like wild daisies swiveled on their stems,
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Apr 24, 2019
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