Issue #2 |

Dear Ingénue

Be plucky, foolish, drawn to underwater caverns

and other damp lairs. Cry attractively, one hand

against your mouth. Wear something diaphanous,

 

and you will probably survive the night, although

your lover’s best friend will almost certainly die.

Pace, sigh, practice your scream. Raise the alarm

 

when he floats to the surface or lies crumpled

on the cold stone. Be transported by a monster or

the mystery of a man, the camera at your gently

 

bent back. Your task is to scream when you

are taken down a long candlelit staircase. Batter,

bat, flail ineffectively–whatever lurks beyond

 

the garden cannot escape for long. Come morning,

a man who claims to love you will grant you something

that seems like freedom. So rest while you can,

 

interchangeable stranger. Don’t trust yourself

to guard a captured beast or keep yourself safe.

Trust the man who nails the purple wolf’s bane

 

over your window, not the garlic reddening

your bloodless throat. Be carried off to church

bells in the daylight. Marry your second choice.

Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her work appears in numerous web and print journals, including Adroit, Sou’wester, Threepenny Review, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Her poems can also be found in several anthologies, including the Best Indie Lit New England anthology. She is the author of the chapbooks Sink and …

Learn More