Some Kind of Salvation
The Tsar is often away, dealing with
dignitaries and on business he decides
doesn't concern her. Vasilisa's dress falls
like water on shining fur. She moves silently
through the echoing palace on bare feet,
through rooms that ring with sadness
covered up with gold leaf, guilt coated in gilt.
When she feels herself
on the point of disappearing, she creeps
below stairs to the warmth of the kitchen,
the glow of the stove like a homely beacon.
She spends hours in the pantry,
her back against the wooden door,
knees drawn up to her chest, mouth stained
with soft red and black fruit. At night,
the bed stretches away from her like tundra.
She sits by the window at the loom,
its clicks and whirrs
the blossoming of flowers.
The weaving is the only thing that stops the dreams;
the things she can't outrun: mildew
and gap-toothed smiles
and a house on chicken legs.
So many bones.
Fire and dark hoofbeats, hot eyes
and tiny damning piles of ash.
The doll lolls in the cardboard house she made for it,
its face worried away and pebble smooth; unfed.
She has nothing left to ask for.
Jen Feroze lives by the sea in Essex. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a variety of publications including Chestnut Review, Atrium, Ink Sweat & Tears and The Madrigal. She's currently working on a chapbook of poems about early motherhood. You can find her on instagram here: @the_colourofhope and on Twitter here: @jenlareine.