The Rose Queen
Even now, looking at the photos
I cannot see myself there, on the edges
heels on the curb, with my sister,
watching the queens on walking day
take a lead behind the mounted police.
The brassed bands, the drums
the beat and blow of it all. The tractors
pulling floats of excited children.
I never aspired to it
wasn’t sure what “it” was, these brides
of the village, too young
too lovely; the white satin on their
sister’s dresses pulled tight across their hips
the crown pinching the temples;
half a can of Elnette and a slick of lip
gloss, all under a silk flower canopy.
The little ones, The maids,
the paiges in short trousers scatter like pearls
down on the high street, outside
the church, past the pubs. Suffer
Little children, the banner reads, whilst
two boys in school grey shorts, pull along
a cardboard ark of hand drawn creatures
that wait wide eyed in fear of the rain.
Jennie E. Owen’s writing has been widely published online, in literary journals and anthologies. She teaches Creative Writing for The Open University and lives in Lancashire, UK with her husband and three children. She is currently working on her PhD under the guidance of Manchester Metropolitan University.