Mudlark No. 44 (2011)

The Dress of Self-Generating Sorrow

When it was fully ripe
high in the branches, 
the women gathered.

How long had they been waiting?

Since before 
anyone’s grandmother could remember,
though mustn’t the tree 
have been a sapling once?

The vigilance.
The constant tending.
The bearing of water to the roots 
in times of little water.

And now, harvest—
this gown whose stains and ruptures
had arisen from within its very threads,
or perhaps anticipated them,

lacework growing around each torn place
like flesh around a constellation of lesions.

But also ripe now, 
the question:

who would be the one
to bring it down?

Claire Bateman | Mudlark No. 44 (2011)
Contents | A Bedtime Story