Mary Elizabeth Parker
Dozing in her white skin, a weave awaiting its dyes of peacock blue, cerulean, awaiting its Persian lions mounting the haunches of terrified harts, her throat is an ice-field to be-jewel. In the mirror she sees not her rice-paper face beneath the white clay-pack of her hair, but her hectic girl face before she woke albino. She is marrying a black man in a gold raw-linen suit with two gold teeth to blink his wealth; he’s dyed his narrow pate platinum to complement her whiteness. The magistrate speaks; she presses a purple silk shoulder hard into her bridegroom’s shoulder, to anneal. A tiny, gangly black child, her new niece, sits in the crook of her arm like a household goddess, bored. The Paris sky sails past the balcony windows and the black women who are the man’s sisters or lovers, bemused, crowd out the pale face of the bride’s brother, glance askance at the lens as if a soul could be made silly here. A cell rings (the groom’s slim platinum case like a money clip) and he answers. Unknown who’s calling, or what this voice will drag into the weave.