My part to play the princess:


twenty-four folds of my whitest dress,


field of dandelions flowering from my skin,


dozen dozing doves to trim.


Should they startle, I will be revealed.


Where is my cloudy crown,


my wreath of cotton? Garlanded body,


I am entitled to more


than downy dresses filled


with seeds. For before the birds


nested in my chest,


rainwater fell from my face.


I was not numinous,


I was entirely clear.


Now milk runs from me, for the birds


to lap with their little tongues,


for the weedy dandelions to wash in.


Every recess preened:


my part to play the princess.


Now I am entitled to make


a metaphor so white


that you could whip through it


like wind and fill the air


with feathers or flowers.