They gawk at the arms in children’s books,
whacking up and down with scimitars.
They cast folded-paper fortunes, certain
Mansion is better than Shack. They have a pact
to dream of rubies, to become women
who wear them, women drawn in
draping silk, women who stare down
mirrors of fresh-cut flowers
until broad red petals become their heads.
They crave the thinness of tissue,
the heavy stroke of their velvet.
God and their brothers will intervene,
the story goes, so they startle when
their throats flap—open, shut, like poppies.
Emily Kingery is an Assistant Professor of English at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, where she teaches courses in literature, writing, and linguistics. She serves on the board of directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit organization that supports writers in the Quad Cities community.
Artwork: Natalia Drepina