Already, at Five

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By Ricki Mandeville

I was five and already a dreamer,
brooding my dreams like fragile eggs
beneath the shimmer of an egg-shaped
southern moon above black water,
delicate ladder of pale hair down my back,
yellow ladder of moonlight
down to black water—I could climb it,
climb that moon ladder, hatch my eggs
in the crater nest of the brood moon,
watch as they opened in pale perfect light.

I was five and already taking on moonlight,
fragile as the thin shimmer
of the southern moon on the marshes:
pale yellow like the shivery yolk
of an egg strung across black water,
practice for the first broken dream.

First appeared in First Literary Review—East


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