Tenderfoot

For a dead Alice

Author

Sarah Dunstan loves mythology and psychoanalysis. She studies Law/Arts at UWA.

In 2012 she completed an honours thesis on what Sleeping Beauty might dream about and still doesn't know the answer.

by Sarah Dunstan

What wobbled round your soggy mind while
Balthus held you under?
Did your mind turn to kisses? The weevils
kicking in the dipping biccies and cream?

Do you remember any dripping?
Choking, did you realise your cells
were all broken? How did you tell your spirit girl
to sift like flour out the bottom of those
floorless drawers?

Perhaps he made you bob for apple cores.

(Please don’t try to open the door, and don’t be
 frightened by the blankets babying
 the mirrors, or the coins over the eyes.)

This is the way we smoke the hive.

What is it? What comes for you, in the looking
glass? Does it creep through swollen doors?
I hope they didn’t turn up the edges of your
browning petal pinafore, while you lay
there draining on that boarded floor.

Grim little sea sponge
sucking yourself blue. 

(I’m afraid that in the Pompidou they take great pains
to stare at you. They look at the way you crown
yourself on a cursed chair. Long to stuff your
mouth with rosemary and kick you in the womb.
They imagine smoothing down your buttered
hair with paste.)

I hope your hair was straight. I hope you’re not sad, or
haunting, and that your waist is still so warped
and small. Have you met your...? 

(I think I shall stop before I have those dreams
where I find your comb.)

Please, please, won’t you go home?

The curtains are closed. Someone turned on the shower.
I would have named you after a flower.