THE TURQUOISE DRESS
Buttoned down from here to China,
the spaces even as the rows of corn you used to eat.
It was a Nippon; the turquoise so blue it stung our eyes.
Bought it secondhand in Fairfield for five dollars.
Some place called Merriweather's or Pennyfeather's
or A Penny for the Thoughts, the memories the rich had left to charity.
I wore it with the French perfume you gave me when you liked me.
I wore it on the night you told me I was feminine.
I wore it on that day you said I'd never really be your friend.
I flung it off the banister of my front porch steps,
flew it off the banister like a breeze,
hoping some deserving soul might take it all the way to China.
There was this guy who used to hang out in the neighborhood.
He was skinny as a row of corn.
You said he was a deck hand or a deck hand's lover.
He was a transvestite.
Or a transsexual.
Someone rich had loved him once then stopped.
The sinking silicon inside his cheeks,
the plastic surgery half undone --
One morning on my way to work I caught a spark of color,
flying from the doorway of the Cortes Gallery next door,
so bright it set my eyes on fire.
my turquoise dress slipping down around his shoulders,
struggling to get past his scarecrow arms.
The last time I saw that dress was evening,
discarded in the gutter, wilted,
never seeing China,
scaring all the birds away.
First published in Home Planet News, Brooklyn, NY 1993
New York, New York
Hellís Kitchen: Slices of Life, And What Rough Beast, The Second Word Thursdays Anthology, Fireweed, Conspire,Poetry Cafe, Poetrymagazine.com, Disquieting Muses, Zero City, Astrophysicist's Tango Partner Speaks
NY Foundation for the Arts fellowship in poetry; Fellowship from the Barbara Deming Memorial Society
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