Jen Feroze: a poem



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.