The Little Stars

I held her in my hand, her torso a tight triangle – a feminine geometry of bowed flesh.  Her neck was white and bare, her legs covered in black cotton.

In my photograph she was black and white like a milkmaid, like a parlour maid, like a chambermaid – with ruffles that were starched from cap to hem.  She had paused in her labors, on her way to barn, or fireplace or kitchen – unspoiled and immaculate while crossing those epic stages of grease and dust.

Her head was tilted to one side on her thick, middle-class neck.  In an axis of inquiry her eyes looked up:  above her solid body, beyond her weariness, past her restrictions and limitations.  And over a century ago someone else had held her in their hand, sensed her question…for written across her apron were the words, "I wonder what the little stars are saying to each other."

Perhaps, when the galactic discussions were at last finished, the menageries of the sky grew silent.  Perhaps one of the stars then fell to the earth, to whisper in her ear – taking pity on the winsome speculations of an unimportant girl. 

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6 responses to “The Little Stars

  1. That is a beautiful and creative piece written with the inspiration of the old photograph. So much fun to read and to wonder!

  2. Starched from cap to hem.

  3. If I could, I would write the story that I know lurks behind all my postcards and photographs. But that would make up quite a volume – I have over 200 framed photos, and some 50 postcards. It would be most daring of me!

  4. Ah, it sounds like a wonderful challenge!

  5. That's quite the expression and intriguing photograph. Were that we could inquire of her what's in her mind …

  6. Nice tribute to the normally overlooked. With the trends towards simpler lives growing popular, who knows, maybe milkmaids will reappear!

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