My Father Told Us Stories. . .

My father told us stories every night about strange little ani-
mals that came out in the dark. When my father was away, my 
mother read us fairy tales that always ended in marriage. 
Sometimes, when I missed my father, I slept under my bed in 
mourning and the mice crawled all around me.
I stand at the window of a bridal shop where huge dresses
hang ghostly in the dark. At the back is a collection of veils
like a row of sleeping jellyfish. One whole wall of the shop is
a mass of white cloth. The wedding dresses are enormous.
They are twice as big as me, and bigger than any woman on 
the street.
This is the year that everyone is trying to fly around the world in a balloon. I don't know why.

Reprinted from The Balloonists by Eula Biss. Copyright © 2002 by Eula Biss. Reprinted by permission of Hanging Loose Press. All rights reserved.