Birthday*

by Erin Vance

 

*After Dorothea Tanning’s 1942 painting of the same name.

You said that thirty was the new
twenty
just like love was the new
war.
I failed to see the difference before.

For my birthday dress
I wore a bustle of mandrake root
to multiply my selves.
I didn’t wash, it was only going to be us.

I went barefoot and barefaced,
tied my hair like a courtesan I’d seen in a painting.

I let my breasts flop
into their new decade –
crab apples about to rot.

I considered the doors:
all those damn doors,
all of the years ahead

and wondered if I’d be better off dead.

I decided I would not.

You said thirty was the new
twenty
love was the new
war
Now I see that you
were different before.

Leave me to rot.
Leave me to rot.

null

ERIN VANCE

Erin Emily Ann Vance’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including Contemporary Verse 2 and filling Station. Erin was a 2017 recipient of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize and a 2018 Finalist for the Alberta Magazine Awards in Fiction. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She holds an MA in Creative Writing and will begin an MA in Irish Folklore and Ethnology at University College Dublin in 2019. Her debut novel, Advice for Amateur Beekeepers and Taxidermists will be published by Stonehouse in 2019 and her second poetry chapbook The Sorceress who Left Too Soon: Poems after Remedios Varo will be published by Coven Editions in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @erinemilyann.
erinvance.ca