The Forest of Mannequins

by Briana Forney

I walk into the forest of mannequins

all headless plastic, plaster arms,

torsos torque-twisted on their steel-rod spines,


knees bent backward, human ostrich,

angles acute, shins kissing thighs,

kicking themselves for opportunities lost and forgetting which

sins are sins.


I peer through a cracked and hollow rib cage:

no cardboard lungs, no cellophane heart,

only the lone whistling echo of wind.


Discarded bone-white fingers lie

leaf-piles in autumn, cockroach carcasses

cracked and cracking as I amble through


alabaster bodies stretched long-limbed and tired,

throats yawning and gaping for want of a mouth, they

press palms skyward, revealing their paint-chipped



I laugh, for my paint is scraped off too.

Back to Archive

Writers Bio

Briana Forney is a graduate of the Ohio State University, with a BA in English literature and a minor in creative writing. Her work has been featured in Spires Intercollegiate Arts and Literary Magazine and Outrageous Fortune. Briana will pursue a master’s degree in creative writing at the University of San Francisco. Bri chooses not to discriminate by genre, writing short and long fiction (including twice completing National Novel Writing Month), creative nonfiction, poetry, Young Adult, comedy, and experimenting with new and strange forms because she believes in the future.

Inspirational ImageOnce Was Beautiful by SD Randby SD Rand

Pieces Inspired by this Image

'Five Kinds of Music'
by Harmony Hodges

'Once Was Beautiful'
by Agnes Clarke

by Sue Ertl Ertl

Follow Us

© Copyright 2012 With Painted Words