Maria Antonia Von Hapsburg Recalls the Day She Lost Her Name

by Miranda Gaw

In a whalebone cage I stood, ringed

by my skirt-hoops, draped in ropes

of pearls. Underneath: a blank

slate. My pulse thudded in the ribs

of the makeshift chapel—the alien rain

drove down upon us and the walls

of it flexed, a cavernous humid lung.

Droplets ran down my face, streaking

the powder, rinsing away

the Archduchess and inking in

shadows: a stand of birches, glimpse of a stag. . . .

I go to bed every night a mere

girl, wake up an animal, like a leopard, something

rampant. Then I wake again as Marie,

     and know it is day.

In dreams I do terrible things and am beloved for them.

In dreams nothing bores me.

What miracles I achieve in dreams I take as a matter of course.

Miranda Gaw writes from Brooklyn. Her poems have appeared in Sybil's Garage, Goblin Fruit, Kaleidotrope, Cabinet des Fees, Sawbuck, and the Swarthmore Review.