Danica Ognjenovic

Emma Bovary’s Daughter
Addresses The Author

To Monsieur Flaubert:
Thank you for the ten thousand words
that shaped my famous mother.
How she shed her clothes
like a serpent sloughing off its skin;
how her lover tired of the affair
as did you, writing her off so fast
I had little time to know her.

After the painful death
the black stain at her mouth,
you crossed out my father too
and left me, a loose end.
A child waking at dawn for the early shift
in a new industrial town.

This is to tell you how,
once you put down your pen
I wrote my own story.
Became a painter of bone china.
Perhaps a student of art.
You cut into my life with the bite
of pen and ink, but I deal in colour,
take the black oak-gall stain
at the corner of Bovary’s lips
and watch it redden.

Danica Ognjenovic grew up in West London, close to the Thames, and spent many childhood days walking along the river towpath. She attended York University and now lives in North Yorkshire.