A.E. Stallings


After Reading the Biography Savage Beauty

I’d like to write sonnets, a dozen a day,
Compose a libretto and maybe a play.
My lustrous red hair would be crowned with the bay
If I were like Edna St. Vincent Millay.

I’d like to have lovers, both straight ones and gay,
I’d like to hold both sexes under my sway
And not give two figs about what people say
Like Edna, Edna St. Vincent Millay.

I’d like to throw tantrums and get my own way,
I’d like to be fresh as a young Beaujolais,
And slyly bewitching as Morgan Le Fay,
Like Edna, Edna St. Vincent Millay.

I’d move with the grace of one trained in ballet.
My husband would not only love but obey.
People would flock to my readings—and pay—
If I were like Edna St. Vincent Millay.

(Previously published in Natural Bridge)



You have a daughter now. It’s everywhere,
And often in the company of glue.
You can’t get rid of it. It’s in her hair:
A wink of pink, a glint of silver blue.
It’s catching, like the chicken pox, or lice.
It travels, like a planetary scar.
Sometimes it’s on your face, or you look twice,
And glimpse, there on your arm, a single star.
You know it by a hand’s brushing your neck—
You blush—it’s not desire, not anymore—
Just someone’s urge to flick away the fleck
Of borrowed glamour from your collarbone—
The broken mirror that Time won’t restore,
The way your daughter marks you as her own.

A.E. Stallings lives in Greece, which is famous for the quality of its Light.  Her most recent book is Olives.