Frankie McMillan

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Sleepwalking child

In 1481 Jean Bourdicon painted
fifty rolls of paper with angels

on a blue background. The guild
of paperhangers had not yet

been born. Nor the cabbage rose
the arabesque patterns

that covered my grandmother’s wall.
I was the kid who worried

the wallpaper, tearing strips in the dark –
in the morning my hands full

of shredded roses, not knowing
who placed them there or why.

King Louis XVI made a decree
that the length of the wallpaper

should be a continuous thirty four feet.

All those angels, not one
held back my outstretched arms.

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