For hundreds of years
I’ve been trying to get out
That door. The front door.
The one onto the High Street.
At the end of the Dark Ages
I make my first attempt. But
Gilded net cauls, caging my ears,
Catch on the door frame.
I try again, dressed like a queen,
White lead setting my face in stone.
But a ruff, layers of lace, press
Into my throat, and I panic,
My breath short. I don’t give up.
Dressed in Rococo paniers, corset,
A hoop skirt, I approach the door.
Hips wide, crinoline cage shield.
But I crash, bouncing back,
Powder fluttering like snow
From my towering wig. I breathe
Relief in my empire line dress,
Draped in muslin, stretch
A foot out, slowly, but the rain
Soaks me, and I trip on my soiled
Skirts. A man outside laughs.
Did I hope he would rescue me,
carry me back to the drawing room? I
Stand again. This time in bloomers,
My legs bounding in time
To calisthenics. I dance in frills, feathers,
Hem lines rise above my knees, small
Steps, in the doorway, breaking
Through to the porch.
My wardrobe spills out around
My bed. I sift floral mini dresses,
Flared jeans, crop tops, sweeping
Skirts. I pull on something,
Anything, my feet ready
In trainers, and stride to the door.
Young lady, where do you think
You are going dressed like that?
Lucy Ashe is an English teacher. She writes reviews for Playstosee.com and currently has a feminist dystopian novel out on submission to agents. Her poetry and prose is soon to be published in Truffle Literary Magazine and 192, Poets’ Directory. Twitter: @LSAshe1