Amelia Starling Seventeen
October 2010. Image my own.


Dressing up

As someone I don’t quite understand

Parts of me, parts that are other

Figuring them out

Not telling my mother.

Stitching up holes in tights

On park benches

Thinking I look wild, and edgy

Hoping a guy will see me and think ‘she’s cool’

Because apparently I wanted a boyfriend who appreciated

My horrendous sewing skills.


Wearing a costume, to feel more like myself

To be a photograph

To not look like everyone else

Foundation and Photoshop

Fix me up, be pretty

Make my skin who I am, who I want to be

Feed what’s growing inside of me

That can only come out on Halloween.


Prop up the camera

On hardback spell books

Bought from the market, where no-one ever looks

To see how old you are

Or why you want to make potions.

Be still and pose

Look dramatic, look sexy

Autumn wind blows

Shiver in your shabby clothes

Don’t smile

In the lens, confide

Only your measly MySpace followers will see

But be sure to greyscale

To hide your acne.


The camera can lie

And so can your mind

Let them play their tricks

Whilst you’re living your life.

Parts of you, parts that are other

One day you’ll know which ones to smother.


I’ve learned since

That you don’t need a pointy hat

To be a witch

And that it’s better

To leave your tights ripped

And holy

So you have at least one decent thing to wear

On Sundays.


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Amelia Starling is a writer and folklorist. She graduated from the University of Winchester with a degree in Creative Writing, and is Senior Editor for Folklore Thursday. She loves travelling and collecting stories, and spent 15 months living in Japan doing this alongside teaching English. Currently she is living in Scotland and studying for a masters degree in Ethnology & Creative Writing. Amelia blogs about folklore and fairy tales at The Willow Web. You can follow her on Twitter @amyelize.

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