The Salmon's Milkmaid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Priscilla McDonnell leapt from her window

with her life in her handkerchief,

past birdpainted trees

and the windblown grass.

She landed, sank ankledeep, dank

in hedgehog hewn

and fertile furrows,

and stepped tiptoe

fast from the farm.

Down through the wilderness

with the wolverine beds.

Down through the forest

with its stiff nettled past.

Down to the stream

with its brokenstone babble

and moonlit moss sheen.

Scraping a cap of wet leather leaves

from a glistening cool rock,

Priscilla McDonnell sat to wait

with hands and handkerchief

folded in her lap.

Hours harkened past fast

while the darkened cloudlined

sky flowed by.

Priscilla patiently waited complaisant

as the time for her perennial

spring joy drew near.

For once a year's waited,

a night's simply bided.

And at onethirty,

she spread her handkerchief

and unscrewed the lid of a mason jar.

She spattered a batter of soft buttermilk

and sprinkled fine salt

over a foam frothed eddy.

The buttermilk drooled in a pool,

covering the cool water.

And a sealicked salmon,

tricked by the scent of salt,

flopped on the bank and stopped.

The calicoclad Priscilla stooped kneeling

by the sleek fish and sang it sweetly

the song of her sisters.

A moonbeam gleamed

in the bleak black of his eye,

and his scales stretched tense

as his stickyslick body taut grew.

Soon the salmon was the size of a rosebush,

soon after he looked six feet six.

Buttermilk-made fish and

bitter milkmaid bride,

dance in the starlight

with the passion of the tide;

twirl with the world's stern stride,

and bloat with bliss at a fishlipped kiss.

The dawn doomed salmon

swung his cool maiden.

faster and faster in a fisheyed frenzy

as the sky gentle brightened.

And the virgin milkmaid spun madly,

spanked by the finflanked beast

till the pale sky whitened

in the east, till the far cock crew.

The shrivelling salmon limpened

and splashed wilted in the water, floating.

His dawncolored belling reflecting the slimy sky;

his oily cold eyes jelled hard

into obsidian pearls.

Across the fields of the wavering dawn

with clouds cracked like arctic icefloes,

across the cool crystal

of the timothy's timid dew jewels,

Priscilla McDonnell wisped home

through corduroy grasses.

She needs not sneak to bed,

for the morning's chores need tender tending.

She walks not to the kitchen,

nor the rickety henhouse,

but to the sweet steaming barn

to the milkcow's stall.

The milkmaid halts,

not fetching the clanging zinc bucket.

Not hiding her handkerchief

under the soft hay.

But she kneels next

to the milkcow's calf

to cry.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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