Watching The Merry Wives of Windsor with My Girls
Because a glut of glass slippers.
Because a blastoma of pink.
Because Juliet and Ophelia,
yes, but also Anne Page.
Because Anne Page and her decoys,
boys disguised in dresses and veils,
trick away suitors she’s
refused. She elopes with her pick,
defying both parents.
Because a page to write on
or be written upon.
Because a shortage of girls with ink-stained fingers.
Because Anne authors her own story,
asks forgiveness, not permission.
Because before Frog and Toad, there was
Mistress Page and Mistress Ford, sharing letters,
facing snakes. Before Thelma and Louise, these
watching each other’s back.
Because these Merry Wives, friends and tricksters,
specialize in subterfuge, fly
in the face of Falstaff’s lewd intentions.
Because a clever mother and clever daughter
grow into—and out of—each other.
Because we coven of sisters
fledge in flocks.
Dayna Patterson is the author of Titania in Yellow (Porkbelly Press, 2019) and If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020). Her creative work has appeared recently in POETRY, Ruminate, Sugar House Review, Thrush, and Tupelo Quarterly. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Psaltery & Lyre and a co-editor of Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry. She has been a Sustainable Arts Fellow at Mineral School Artists Residency. daynapatterson.com
Donna Vorreyer is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013), as well as eight chapbooks: The Girl (2017, Porkbelly Press), Tinder, Smolder, Bones and Snow (2016, dancing girl press), Encantado, Illustrated by Matt Kish (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2015), We Build Houses of Our Bodies (dancing girl press, 2013), The Imagined Life of A Pioneer Wife (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013), Ordering the Hours (Maverick Duck Press, 2012), Come Out, Virginia (Naked Mannequin Press, 2011), and Womb/Seed/Fruit (Finishing Line Press, 2010).
She currently serves as a staff reviewer for the journal Stirring: A Literary Collection and Rhino Reviews. Her poetry, fiction, and book reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in such journals as Sugar House Review, Diode, Waxwing, Juxtaprose, Poet Lore, Border Crossings, Harpur Palate, and Quarterly West, and anthologies such as A Face to Meet the Faces (2013) and New Poetry from the Midwest (2015). Although she does not have an MFA, she gets an education daily in her life as a middle school English teacher.