Written for Margo Roby’s Poem Tryouts, “Clothing Memories”
(Prompt by Diane Lockward)
Your objective is to list articles of clothing through your life that stick in your mind, and to jot down why you remember each one. You get the idea: clothing + memory = story. There are a couple of ways you can tell the story. You can narrate a specific scene as a memory, or as happening now — even if it happened forty years ago. The bonus prompt suggests we let the article of clothing tell the story. You can speak in first person, or third. Not every story that is part of you has to be told from the first person point of view. Sometimes a poem works better if told from the third person.
Well darling, you are nice
enough in your brown
sort of way, but she’s thirteen,
wanting something with pizzazz.
Now as you see, I offer, her
first straight line dress–
powder blue–a color to die for,
and a white fake fur color.
We worked as a team. I was black
and made of fishnet. Her legs
looked fabulous. My coworkers
completed the look with a black
leather mini-skirt, blood red
silk blouse, and high heels,
color of candy apples. I do not
like to brag, but fashion-wise –
those were her best years.
I admit I was a bit too short
and tight, but she purchased me
mid-menopause, hormones wreaking
havoc. A Chinese red and gold
brocade dress? She could not
say no. My silk made her tingle
A gift from her husband, I flew
all the way from Ireland
to New York. Soft burgundy,
floor length cape. My dear,
she simply took on that mysterious
film noir, femme fatale role,
as if I was sewn right on her.
I will outlast them all.