Wardrobe Best Dressed: Sally Rosen Kindred’s “What Wendy Darling Tells Her Brother”

What Wendy Darling Tells Her Brother

“Listen, then,” said Wendy, settling down to her story, with Michael at her feet… “There was once a gentleman [whose] name…was Mr. Darling, and her name was Mrs. Darling.” “I think I knew them,” said Michael rather doubtfully.
— J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan and Wendy

Don’t you remember
living behind bricks,
dry paper asters flowering to the wall
and curtains rough and broad
drifting past the glass that held us?
The yellow roses pouring down our mother’s dress?
Don’t you remember
the smell of her—lemon and ash—
her skin’s speckle like wrens’ eggs
and the warm wind of her moving in
off the edge of the bed, to hover
by cool sheets and bring her hands
down on your face
like rain? We were safe there,
bandaged to our beds by cotton quilts,
hearing the scratch of toothless things—
her slippers’ dull drag on the tile.
Sometimes I want to follow the sky back
to that dream, where I’m
a daughter again and you’re
nosing someone else’s knee.
We carried coins and umbrellas
and read a black clock on the wall.
And though it wasn’t real
it was home. And though it was in time
it was ours, the mother and father
who draped the air, their bodies strange
and soft with yearning.
It felt right to have a mother, to live
in the lap of a world I hadn’t made.
Don’t you remember?
It felt just like this story
that I am telling you.

“What Wendy Darling Tells Her Brother” appeared in Sally Rosen Kindred’s chapbook, Darling Hands, Darling Tongue, available from Hyacinth Girl Press.  Purchase your copy today!

Sally Rosen Kindred is the author of two books of poems from Mayapple Press, Book of Asters (2014), and No Eden (2011), and two chapbooks, Garnet Lanterns (2006), winner of the Anabiosis Press Prize, and Darling Hands, Darling Tongue (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Quarterly WestHunger Mountain, Verse Daily, and other journals.

This week’s Wardrobe Best Dressed was selected by Erin Elizabeth Smith. Smith is the Creative Director at the Sundress Academy for the Arts and the author of two full-length collections, The Fear of Being Found (Three Candles Press, 2008) and The Naming of Strays (Gold Wake Press, 2011). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Mid-American, 32 Poems, Zone 3, Gargoyle, Tusculum Review, and Crab Orchard Review. She teaches a bit of everything in the English Department at the University of Tennessee and serves as the managing editor of Sundress Publications and Stirring.