WRITING: Three Dresses

Intro: So I did a freewrite with my students, because honestly, it’s one of the few times I write creatively these days, and because the topic was “Fairy Tales,” I decided to write alongside them. It’s good exercise, and I’m trying to do a creative writing assignment for one of my summer classes in a free verse style like Jacqueline Woodson, so I meshed the two together. And ended up writing a free-verse poem of the fairy tales “Donkeyskin.” It was dark and macabre, but I actually liked how it turned out, mostly because I’m surprised I turned anything out in poem-form. It’s a style I normally don’t do to begin with!

Writing: Three Dresses

Marilag Angway
June 2021

Papa was not right in the head,

not since Mama died,

left us divided in a kingdom

without a wife by

Papa’s side.

~

Papa was not right in the head,

and the people knew,

but they did nothing to

help when he gave his

declaration.

~

You look just like

my Becca,

he murmurs one day,

beautiful

as a nightly songbird,

as a rose.

~

Papa means to marry.

He means to

marry

me.

~

Papa was not right in the head,

so when he declares his intentions,

I declare mine.

~

Three dresses, I say,

three dresses as tribute.

~

One of the sun, bright and gold and

burnished with gemstones,

blinding in the midday morning.

~

One of the moon, soothing

glimmering silver,

luminescent in its evening glow.

~

One of the sky, everchanging

hue of blue and violets, of

sunsets and sunrises, of

dawns and dusks.

~

Papa was not right in the head,

but he called on his best tailors

and managed the deed,

and managed the deed,

and three dresses were born.

~

Papa was not right in the head,

and I knew.

I knew.

~

Gone went the

burnished gold,

luminescent silver,

ever-changing gradient of blue.

~

Gone went the chest that

kept the fabrics of magic

hidden from the world.

~

Gone went the donkey,

that skin of mottled brown,

much less magical than the dresses,

but it is a skin I wear,

more precious than the others.

~

Gone went the dark, songbird locks,

and the dagger that I take to my face,

to mar the beauty that is there,

to make me less like my mother.

~

Not beautiful like

a songbird,

a rose.

~

There is no need for that.

There is only need for three dresses.

And a place far from home.

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