“Waltzing out of it, in oyster silk”
My sleeves are an open tin.
I mean it like it is — like it sounds.
You wouldn’t even recognize me:
quellazaire held like a spear
held like a periscope.
You wouldn’t even recognize me.
And before —
before was just a side effect: skirts trailing
with the sound of masking tape.
Bitten tongue. Mouth full of blood.
The little things.
(Imagine — to miss these things. Taking
hors d’oeuvres from a tray
inlaid with pearl and missing things!)
Both hands full of gloved words.
I did as I was told.
When Eliza played the spinet
for G. Washington, who sat, rococo, on the yellow
chair in the yellow sunlight drinking Gunpowder tea, olive-
colored with a lemony aftertaste, was she thinking
of the Raleigh in her father’s shipyard
(ending up in Portsmouth, England) or of the elephants
brought down for ivory sharps or of the candied orange peel
in the covered dish on the mantel or of the six houses
with Piscataqua-patterned balustrades? In the 1950s Rosalind
Franklin discovered the double helix in a smeared
and shadowy image, like a hallway, and her male colleagues
won the Nobel Prize. All anyone knows
about Gov. Langdon’s wife:
he called her Betsy. She was “tolerably handsome”.
Katie Hogan holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of New Hampshire, and lives near the New Hampshire seacoast. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ragazine, Pure Francis, The Light Ekphrastic, CRATE Magazine, Damselfly Press, Paper Nautilus, and Arsenic Lobster.
The title “Waltzing out of it, in oyster silk” is borrowed from War Music by Christopher Logue.