When small, she’d wake, hearthside, to cook and clean with courage.
But then the prince arrived: for her a princess carriage.
I, instead, used trains, would watch from their wide windows.
You saw me there one May; approached on the fifth carriage.
First love, then something more, and then the perfect wedding:
white gown, top guests, dance floor, a horse-drawn, shameless carriage.
We were simple still. I touched your neck in blessing
before we undid ourselves to learn our bodies’ carriage.
Soon, my belly swelled, my thighs and my thin ankles.
You held me close, although you could not hear this carriage.
Together, we built a room, painting around the windows.
As he grew in my womb, we chose his clothes, his carriage.
Alone, I sit there now, below his sky-filled window,
I hold the page and read aloud with faultless carriage.
Still, the window’s small; still, my belly’s empty;
in truth, I don’t know how to nurse amidst miscarriage.
The princess cleans no more; the castle is her country.
I, though, polish his bare floor. You promise life holds plenty.
Ana Michalowsky lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. She received an MFA from Pacific University and a BA from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. Her work has received a Vaclav Havel Scholarship from the Prague Writers Program and was a finalist in the Atlanta Review’s 2017 International Poetry Contest.
First published in Measure Review