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by Meghan O'Dea

the wild wind and smoke outside with injun summer leaves
my eyes are shut, skin smeared with beauty ointments thick
i shudder down and touch my face. my hands are rust, i'm cold
the tears that well up in my eyes i cannot allow to be
the promises made for me; bound in the corsets of my kind
my masks are thick and seamless, my conversation aspires similarity
trained in lessons of beguilment i restrain the violent stirrings
my superiors own me, i am their slave, my face is theirs
to kiss and paint, to slap and watch for any sign of vitality
unbearable sobs struggle from my throat tied fast with golden locket
i peek out of leaded glass and sense th' siren call of green and rain
bitter cursing of my sundays spent in the company of father and son
and if i die of this life i'm destined to be their holy ghost
my feet feel whole again as i remember toddler sprints in heather
a brief nakedness between crisp white lace and stiff folds of silk
my first breath without my back against a board
before they strangled me with underwires and shimmering warpaint
for my first whirlwind performance as the deer amongst the hunters
amidst the heady perfumes choking me like poisoned breastmilk
i came into this world stillborn and they didn't even try to bring me back
as they analyzed my shortcomings to quash along with gifts from a stranger god
who cast me in this mold to be named by Adam a brood mare of perfect pedigree
and if it please him i should not hesitate to stop my very blood from flowing
if it please him i should agree that i came from his precious rib
let amnesia touch him when it was from my kind's loins he sprang
forget the tragic fornication held kosher by the holy prince of golden hoards

Meghan O'Dea is a sophomore at Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga and has been a regular attendee at the reading retreats.