AT THE MALL CINEPLEX
Herded into the narrow aisles,
I can’t help thinking of the Fox-Bay theater
on long Saturday afternoons;
the high school kids in burgundy blazers
ushering us into the hushed generous darkness
smelling of spilled popcorn
and thrumming with the promise
of a double feature, permission
to empty our boxes of Milk Duds
and JuJu Bees, our Good ‘n Plenty
and tall cups of Hi-C,
the dark velvet drapery rolling open,
maneuvered by careful, invisible hands,
while far away on the walls-- the relief sculptures
of gnarled, windswept trees,
cliffs where a heroine might perch
awaiting her story.
CHARLOTTE BRONTË, STUDENT
Roe Head School, 1831
When I arrived, they eyed me queerly,
these daughters of wealthy locals.
Oh, I could not blame them-- me with
spectacles and old woman’s dress,
unmistakable tinge of Irish on my tongue.
I offered them poetry, my zeal
for drawing, those subjects most females
are not given to learn:
geography, history, grammar,
such copious, joyful copying
of classical heads and hands!
Papa says I must meet my future armed.
I memorize Mangall’s Historical
and Miscellaneous Questions, for it is the latter
that calls to me--
what we are not given to know,
what cannot be reduced--
bursting the bounds of breads and puddings,
of embroidering collars and bags.