"I am small, like the wren, and my hair is bold, like the chestnut bur, and my eyes like the sherry in the glass that the guest leaves."
The banner was large but she was small,
and near as a girl's blue-gowned doll--
but still-- big enough to be
picked up and thrown down, so she
made herself small as poppy seed
blown away before she'd bleed
on another knot of dough.
Age began to twist-- and clutch--
to spot the careful square of lace with such
delicate blotted tears--
cindered brown the daisy years
to ecru tracery drawn of voids defined--
cool cotton-- on the cheek that pain refined
loss stretched shapeless, damp sheets rucked
by a called back touch.
It became her business only
to grow flowers for the lonely--
behind a closing door, a dreaming eye--
to listen-- in the wildest night
to a pen scratching black on white
the buzz of bees in reverie--
to never see the sea--
to never see-- love be.
*in a letter to Thos. Wentworth Higginson
where Brian Miller is hosting a prompt about what might be hidden in the folds of that faded lacy hanky known as history.
Process Notes: I have made uncharacteristic and liberal use of the dash in this piece, my clumsy tribute to Miss Dickinson's iconic form.
Header Image: Emily Dickinson's grave in the family plot, photo by MidnightDrearyShared under a Creative Commons License, via wikimedia commons
Footer Image: Cover of Poems, by Emily Dickinson, 1890
(archive.org) [Public domain], via wikimedia Commons