Liz Steinglass and
Tatyana Ostapenko

Red Dress
Tatyana Ostapenko

Inspiration piece


Red Dress
By Liz Steinglass




I remember

I had to have it,

Sensing somehow

It was already mine,

Sewn to my heart

Torn from me and

Set in the window

For others to claim.

I was desperate

For mending,

Desperate to have that dress

Knitted to my skin.


You understood.


You bought it for me,

Let me wear it home,

Let me wear it everyday

As I skipped through the woods,

And every night you washed it

And told me the story

Of the girl and the wolf.



I thought it was a story

About a girl and a wolf,

Until I met the wolf

And he ate me.


He told me he loved

That red dress,

The way I wore it

When I walked,

Like it was part of me,

Like it was my skin

Flush with the blood

Of my heart.


When you pulled me out,

It didn’t feel like saving

Because I’d already died.

You claimed the body,

Filled it with food

And words,

Until it stood up,


In high heels,

And set off across the land.


It took me a long time

To see the earth

As it is,

As you knew it,

With its dark holes,

Harrowed soil,

Restless waters and

Perennial forests.



Before I enter the room

I see you

Looking out the window,

Seeing yourself

Out there


Among the trees.

I am tempted

To leave you there,

But then I hear your voice

Telling me to do

What I’m supposed to do.


I think you know me,

Though you call me the wrong name,

Because you ask why

I’m not wearing

My red dress.

I tell you I’m grown up,

It doesn’t fit,

It’s been gone a long time,

But you shake your head,

As if I don’t understand

And ask me again.


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