Eve of Janus Debutante Ball

Tiana Clark

Winter 2017

Past the portrait of Robert E. Lee I walked
into the snow bright circle of center stage. Half my face
caught in the blazing light and the other lost
in my shadow growing against the wall, looking back
on Belle Meade Plantation, at the kitchen’s
dirty dishes stacked like cairns for my kin, looking forward

into a rich blizzard—the wealthy haze of glittering tables,
clinking china, and a flurry of whispers. Old Money looked
me up and down and back again, placing and tracing my origin.
All evening, they kept asking me who made my dress,
to repeat my last name. Knight, I said. Knight, as in black
as the night sky above, everywhere stabbed by blinking stars.

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