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Posts Tagged ‘clothes’

 

 

 

I keep staring at it, the Ametist linen/modal dress,

in amethyst, a linen shirt dress the catalog describes

as “wonderfully forgiving.” Well, that sounds good, of course.

 

And the dress, with its shimmering linen, its turquoise

and aubergine flowers, well, it’s beautiful. And perhaps

because I do not feel beautiful, I stare at it as if

 

it has a secret I need woven into its threads, as if I could buy it

and then be as happy as the model who is walking

through a sunlit field with a large bouquet of long-stemmed

 

dusky penstemon in her hand. She looks over her shoulder

as if there is someone or something there that delights her,

as surely everything does when she is wearing

 

her amethyst Ametist linen/modal dress with its “generous fit.”

Perhaps I would rather not remember that I must

be the one who is generous, I must be the one who forgives

 

and is forgiven. Easier to imagine slipping into a dress

and letting the fabric do all the work. Harder to remember

that beauty is less about how we look and more about

 

the way we choose to see. Oh, to buy that dress

so that I might notice how little joy it really brings me.

Is this the way we meet the self? Through disappointment?

 

I walk through the kitchen, pretending I am me walking

through the kitchen in my yoga pants and fuzzy top.

It’s not much of a stretch. I smile over my shoulder

 

at the tea pot, the dishes that need washing, a lunch box.

And why not smile? Perhaps there’s a secret I need

woven into something here—in the stack of mail,

 

in the charging cord, in the marker, the dish towel—

some chance for delight, something beautiful waiting

if only I choose to see the shimmer.

 

 

 

 

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I did it. Exactly as she said.

I removed everything

from my closets and drawers,

and touched each thing—

every sock, every shirt, every shoe—

and I asked them, “Do you bring me joy?”

 

Joy, it turns out, wears many clothes.

She likes scarves. Wide necklines.

Black pants. She loves long knit dresses

and tall leather boots. She needs

lots of sweaters and many gardening gloves.

 

And all the while I did it,

I did as she said, I visualized

the life I want,

which is apparently a life

in which my closet is full of black pants

and scarves and tall leather boots—

a life in which I talk to my clothes

and smile as they whisper back to me,

Joy, Joy, Joy.

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They hang in the closet,

their shoulders fading, all these

clothes I can’t bear to take

to the Second Chance.

 

The black cocktail dress with the plunging neck

its bodice snug, its open back,

made for a sassy uptown evening

with cosmopolitans and canapes,

 

and the deep red jacket, more

froth than cloth, artsy and hand stitched,

perfect for Madame Butterfly at The Met.

 

The silvery coat that fits

like snake skin, just right for

an art opening or a wedding

on yacht in the Mediterranean.

 

And I can imagine wearing the long

silvery skirt on a beach in France

while the wind gently tugs it

as the sheer fabric gathers the light of the setting sun.

 

Perhaps I could wear with it the long strands

of pearls that curl into a blue velvet bag in the drawer

keeping company with the blush

I bought five years ago and never put on.

 

Every day I walk to the same plastic hanger

in the middle of the closet and pull off the same

black cotton dress, somewhat shapeless,

perfect for pulling dandelions in the garden

or going to the grocery store to buy some eggs, or

driving my son to math camp or hiking on Bear Creek Trail.

 

Every day I choose it, every day, and why not, when it’s

equally well suited for paying the electric bill and washing the breakfast dishes

and dusting the unplayed piano. Just right for waiting on hold

for the insurance company to answer my call

or writing an article about the history of kitchens or

changing the water in the fish tank, or, for that matter,

cleaning the closet as I look again at all those

beautiful clothes, and choose to leave them

for some other woman I used to look like,

let them hang there,

right there where they are.

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