To have been age enough. To have been leg enough. Been enough bold. Said no. Been a girl grown into that negative construction. Or said yes on condition of a dress. To be yours if my skirts skimmed the floors. To have demanded each seam celestial, appealed for planetary pleats. And when you saw the sun a sequin, the moon a button shaped from glass, and in the stars a pattern for a dress, when the commission proved too minute, and the frocks hung before me like hosts, to have stood then at the edge of the wood, heard a hound’s bark and my heart hark in return. To have seen asylum in the scruffs of neck—mink, lynx, ocelot, fox, Kodiak, ermine, wolf—felt a claw curve over my sorrow then. Said yes on condition of a dress. To be yours if my skirts skimmed the floors. To have demanded each seam just short of breathing, my mouth a-beg for bestial pleats. And when you saw tails as tassels, underskins sateen, and in entrails damasks of flowers and fruit, when the bet proved not too broad for you, and before me, the cloak held open as a boast, to have slipped into that primitive skin. To have turned my how how into a howl. To have picked up my heavy hem and run.
Copyright © 2011 by Stacy Gnall. Reprinted from Heart First Into the Forest with the permission of Alice James Books.