Alex Streiff

Casket Girls

Casket girls were women brought from France by the Ursuline nuns from 1728-1751 to provide suitable wives for male colonists. They were called “casket girls” due to the shape of the chests of clothing and linens. They were desirable by reason of their guaranteed virginity.

  —Louisiana State Museum

—our stockings and silk
garters for you, a hand
to hold to your mouth, a hand

to breathe into, to collect
the blossom of a wrist. We long
to long, to bend our limbs—

We thought the water would never
end. Dark pools of stars
in our faces—

We thought until we wore
out thinking, until the ocean
ended, and we

ended at shoreline, an anchor
dropped. A casket
burst open. The ghost-

body of a dress, a pair of gloves
floated beneath us, then sank—

Alex Streiff is the fiction editor of The Journal.