The art of costume

In the christening scene of Sleeping Beauty, the most joyful fairy wears bright pink. It’s a costume her mother has made with a satin bodice, four layers of tulle and matching bloomers. That’s how it really happens in 1961 at the Saint Brendan’s Parish school hall.

This particular fairy has never played such an important role. Her rag-rolled ringlets bounce when her jiffies skim across the wooden floor. Organza wings aflutter, she hovers for a moment in the air, before tiptoeing towards centre stage where the baby princess is sleeping in a golden crib.

Beaming towards her audience she calls ‘I GIVE HER JOY’, in her loudest voice, all the while flourishing her wand. When she twirls sparks of joy whizz from its silver tip and spill across the audience. In this moment she discovers the reason for her existence so she twirls, and twirls, and twirls, filling every corner of the room with joy, until another whimsical fairy shoos her away.

her mother apply lipstick
without a mirror
she perfects by heart
the art of painting smiles

Michelle Brock


Michelle Brock is a Canberra poet and short story writer. She is a member of the Limestone Tanka Poets and her tanka, tanka prose and haiga appear regularly in Australian and overseas journals and anthologies. Her recent publications include Ebb and Flow (an anthology by Friday Writers 2018) and Dissolving (with Gerry Jacobson 2018).

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