by Corinna McClanahan Schroeder
From low chairs in the grass,
the heroines pass tiers
of cucumber sandwiches
and raspberry sponge cake.
The usual characters have convened—
grown daughters in muslin
and ribbons, heiresses yawning
diamonds. Teenage housekeepers
whose cupboard keys chime.
Governesses and quiet nieces
weathering tempest minds.
Clouds morph like a story overhead,
but the women pay no heed.
They are on break from the uses
of narrative. Crumbs spilling
from their lips, they don’t talk about
the next scene or when their weddings
will be. Not even the ever after,
happily though it’s promised
to be. For this hour, no one
blushes, no one’s made
to weep. The heroines just steep
in the pale sun, and no narrator
takes his stab at what they think.