She woke up one morning to find that she had become Zelda
Fitzgerald. Beaded headpiece, little silver jewels falling
into her eyes, over her ratted blond hair. On her feet,
yellow heels, straps tied tightly around petite ankles.
And her dress! A gold that shimmered when she walked,
flapper dress, revealing knees bruised red like fresh cherries,
a large birthmark on her right calf, the shape of Manhattan.
Her shoes were wet. There had been a fountain last night;
she remembered now. She walked from the bed to the mirror,
noticed black on her cheeks. She wondered if she’d been crying.
Where was Scott? Who put the locks on the windows?
She blew onto the glass, watched it steam. She wrote her name
in lower case letters. She erased it. The lawn outside had no snow;
seemed like it could stretch all the way home to Alabama.
There was music all of a sudden, a waltz. She began to dance
around the room, uneasy smile, catching glimpses of herself
in the mirror, arms stretched around the neck of a man
who wasn’t there, side- stepping her feet, twirling herself
round, left, right. A key in the door, a nurse in white
starched cotton, carrying sheets.
SIX BEFORE BREAKFAST
“In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
I am falling down
going after you as I am
in my old red dress
the one that’s really too small
for me (I am not a little girl).
I am scuffing my knees
(holding on to foundations made
of mud). I believe
impossible things, six alone
before breakfast –
I am simply drunk.
Am I drunk on just the air?
I look in the mirror (handle is broken)
woodchips fall in my hand,
splinters slice my palms.
I am curious
(imagining) -are you
wearing a ridiculous hat,
dashing, as always?
Tops and tails, and your teeth,
grinning. I do believe
everything you say. Make me
laugh (you’re good at that).
I consume impossibilities, I
drink them in, like I don’t know
danger. We could have a little party.
You taste sweet like cake;
we were like rabbits in springtime.
I watch playing cards fall through
my fingers, fall to mud – the Joker,
the Queen, face up, smiling.
I am dizzy. When it comes to you
I believe impossible things – six
alone, before breakfast.
Amy Schreibman Walter is an American poet living in London. Her work has appeared in numerous journals on both sides of the Atlantic. She is the co-editor of the online poetry magazine here/there:poetry. You can find Amy here:www.amyschreibmanwalter.com.