“Alternate Life Number Two” by Jeanne DeLarm-Neri

In which girls whose poplin skirts
stand straight out on stiff crinolines
point my path up Haystack Mountain
where I will taste a boy’s tongue.

Before giving up my name, I scan
orange leaf trees below, for an outcast
with my hair. She lurks under that canopy
where sun fights to ray itself in.

I mask my face in a journey from hamlet
to outskirts of cities and their gates.
Stay in the trees, clad as I am
in patches of gleaned leather.

In which I sell or give away belongings:
wax flowers fit for bisque doll hands.
Push that box off my shoulder,
wake up atop a bed of pine needles.

I am not dead, but playing possum,
white skin a camouflage for meat
of mushrooms, rocks that glow in the gloam.
In which a lean-to serves as my home.

Jeanne DeLarm-Neri writes from a house built by a ship captain in 1853 in a Connecticut shore town, which she shares with her husband and antique dolls.   Her poems have been published in various journals, one being nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She received an MFA from Fairfield University.

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