Her favorite flower was thistle, her favorite color was anything faded and sad songs made her dance.
Neighbors clucked and shrugged their feathers
what kind of child prefers a broken doll
and shook their heads…
Most shadows only follow, but hers she made a friend
and together they sought the thin spaces,
the unlikely places.
There she told the old, old stories every night,
always stopping short of the happily ever after,
because the poisoned apple swoon was her preference.
The most melancholy of poems were the ones she could read and re-read, squeezing the last drops of heartache
into a glass and garnishing with lemon slices.
A girl of sorrow and photo negative eyes
she stood and stared up into the pouring rain while everyone else hurried past,
while her shadow bit at her heels.
Her favorite flower was thistle and her favorite perfume was the incense wafted at funerals.
She sometimes pretended to be the deceased and arranged her stuffed animals as mourners
and chose the music carefully.
The neglected and spinesprung books which others left carelessly on lower shelves
knew her name, knew her familiar cold touch
and she read the old, old stories every night
and kept their words alive and breathing,
in the soft and silent library
with the shadow playing tag with other shades among the stacks.
Sometimes she would play too
and they let her win.
Her favorite flower was thistle
and her favorite color was anything faded
and she painted herself in those colors
and now her shadow can clasp her hand
as they walk together.