I suddenly thought of Brenda Hatfield, queen of the 5th grade, Concord Elementary. A very thin, shy girl, almost as tall as Audrey Hepburn, but blond. She wore a dress based upon the principle of the daffodil: puffed sleeves, inflated bodice, profusion of frills along the shoulder blades and hemline. A dress based upon the principle of girl as flower; everything unfolding, spilling outward and downward: ribbon, stole, corsage, sash. It was the only thing I was ever Elected. A very short king. I wore a bow tie, and felt Like a third-grader. Even the scent of daffodils you left reminds me. It was a spring night. And escorting her down the runway was a losing battle, trying to march down among the full, thick folds of crinoline, into the barrage of her father's flashbulbs, wading the backwash of her mother's perfume: scared, smiling, tiny, down at the end of that long, thin, Audrey Hepburn arm, where I was king.
from The Postal Confessions, 1995
University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, MA
Copyright 1995 by Max Garland.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of University of Massachusetts Press.
Max Garland is the author of two poetry collections, including Hunger Wide as Heaven (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2006). Garland served as the Wisconsin Poet Laureate from 2013-2014.