in your hospital gown bleached gray as an old dog’s beard, the robe hanging from the anvil of your back, gnarled feet in paper slippers. I’ll float you away on a carpet of bed sheets. Paddle-boat to the edge of a gently sighing lake. Speed you away on skates. Do you remember the book of costumes you wrapped in gold paper? Corsets laced kindling thin. Bustles broad enough to seat a village. Shed the robe and choose an outfit. I see you in an ermine cape with velvet bloomers. A mobster’s pinstriped suit. I’ll wear a flapper dress and jiggle the fringe. The Charleston is easy. Bend your elbows into birds’ wings. Raise your hands like this
Tina Barry is the author of Beautiful Raft (Big Table Publishing, 2019) and Mall Flower (Big Table Publishing, 2016). Her work appears in numerous anthologies including The Best Small Fictions 2020 (spotlighted story) and 2016, Nasty Women Poets, and A Constellation of Kisses. Her poetry and fiction can be found in Drunken Boat, Inch Magazine, the Lascaux Review, Muddy River Review, The American Poetry Journal, and Yes, Poetry. Tina is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and has had several Best of the Net nods. She holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Long Island University, Brooklyn. In addition to Writers.com, Tina is a teaching artist at The Poetry Barn and Gemini Ink.