Letter to a bride to be

Thank you for sharing with me the newest (yet quite retro) issue of Vogue Bridal Patterns. I love that off-white shot silk you brought back from your travels and think it would suit your complexion perfectly. It looks much better than the Nora white organza. It’s also a tribute to your integrity and I hope I’m not reading too much into your choice of colour. But before you start making the dress, I urge you to indulge in a little intertextual journey around your maiden room, if I may say so, for I’m not sure you know on what galère you are embarking. Mark my words. I don’t mean gondola, or anything romantic, but galley, a low, flat ship with one or more sails (glad you opted for a visor instead of a veil) and up to three banks of oars worked by slaves. First, as an artist, you must re-read Tennyson’s ‘The Lady of Shalott’ against the grain. Then turn to Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘The Gentleman of Shalott’ and Jessica Anderson’s Tirra Lirra by the River. I studied both in year twelve (wish I’d paid more attention). Finally, and this may surprise you, especially coming from me, read Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House, a work your father drew on to devise our home. Deep down, I now think Ibsen understood the difference between need and desire; desire and love; love and lust. Your father would disagree, of course, but I would maintain that Ibsen was really a proto-feminist writer. Wink. One last thing: beware of identifications. With two (anti)heroines bearing your Christian name, you wouldn’t want to become unduly hystericised. Much love. X

Dominique Hecq


Dominique Hecq is a bilingual poet, fiction writer and scholar. She grew up in the French-speaking part of Belgium and now lives in Melbourne. Her poetry appears in English, French, Dutch, Spanish and Chinese in literary magazines and anthologies. Often experimental, her writing explores love, loss, exile, and the possibilities of language.

© 2019