One Poem by Ellie A. Rogers

One Poem by Ellen Rogers

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Brigget Bishop’s Last Words to Samuel Shattuck, the Dyer – Salem, June 1692

Edgings for a dress was all.
Collar to color, to frame my face.
I did not know lace would be my marke.

I wanted more than dormant
sheep’s fleece, more than sky gone
winter drab, fringed wings of battered moths.

I wanted my hem indigo, like the bay’s
swales and crumpled winds.
(I wanted to be a bereft sailor’s harbor.)

You accuse my lace of wickedness—
too short, not fit for any uce.
I only wanted threshed flax threads

reddened with carmine and mordant.
But you do that Devil’s work—
the chosen hue fixing God’s material.

Your carmine color comes from the female
cochineal, a bug bound for life to one
nopal cactus while the male flies away.

I am not surprised the cochineal pulses
red acid through her abdomen.
I am not surprised that Spanish fleets slash seas

and seize the new world to prey
on wingless crimson insects that dye
our costumes with their bodies.

Like a shield, I wear my lacy bodice
the color of John’s orchard under
moon-encumbered fear. He said he saw

the red Devil and me. He said we shook
the trees, felled his ripe apples to the ground.
He said I flew away.




Ellie A. RogersEllen Rogers writes in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a poetry editor at The Hopper. You can read her recent work in The Cincinnati Review, Cold Mountain Review, and Ecotone, or at
Header photo by Olga Engar, courtesy Shutterstock. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.