Photo by Landon Parenteau on Unsplash


— fragment, Margaret Gainsborough’s diary, 1795

After Father’s death, heat overtakes us, the skies sulk. London’s graveyards are full, we pass two coffins in the street. The river smells of stale gin. We hear of guillotines in Paris—blood’s everywhere, even on ladies’ silk gloves. We will not speak of these things. My older sister says to me, “The birds on our shoes were the rage in Paris. No one sews like that anymore.” I agree that our shoes are exquisite. Last year, we talked about repairing the soles, but we cannot be profligate. Children stare at our shoes, perhaps they plan to steal them. “Are women in Paris allowed to walk alone? Or is everywhere like here?” my sister asks in a small voice that keeps growing smaller. We lock fingers, our gloves are bloodless. Feathers float in the river. We will not speak of these things.

Carla Sarett

Carla Sarett is a poet and novelist based in San Francisco. She has been nominated for the Pushcart, Best of Net, Best Microfictions, and Best American Essays. She is the author of She Has Visions (Main Street Rag, 2022) and two chapbooks in 2023, My Family Was Like a Russian Novel (Plan B) and Woman on the Run (Alien Buddha). New poems appear or are forthcoming in The Potomac Review, The Nassau Review, Rust and Moth, and Stonecoast Review. Carla has a Ph.D. from University of Pennsylvania.

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