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I look for her in the mirror.

How many times have I seen

Alice in black and white:

Spectacles perched above her nose,

Blonde hair pulled back,

Features as tiny as her waist.

The simple lace wedding dress

Gathers tightly there—

Think bound

Think trapped.

When she died, her stepchildren

Wanted to tear it apart for fabric,

But somehow it floated down to us

On wings as fragile as dead butterfly’s,

Or old bones in Cochise sand.

I don’t see Alice Martha Goldie,

His young English bride,

Not in my eyes, my hair,

Nose, cheeks, or chin,

Not even the waist,

In only this:

Second wife,

A woman in an unmarked grave,

Orphans, and a wedding dress

As thin as air.

alice martha goldie wedding dress from 1910