I’ve had flu.
The proper one where you can’t function and your skin hurts and everything’s inflamed and all you can do is to stare into the middle distance and wait for it to leave. I haven’t read anything, written anything, made anything for weeks and I’m still off coffee.
I’m trying to float
in this deep iron bath,
raising my pelvis from the cold and
tilting my head into warm water,
ears filled with dead sound.
And it works for a while,
looking up at the shower head,
hanging hoof-like from the ceiling.
There is a rough-maned, zinc-hued horse
pounding the attic floor.
My hands are floating on the surface nudging foam.
Can I feel the inside?
I reach a finger into a blue-oiled bubble.
I see myself in a
solitary water drop on the tap.
I am a small, twisted, one-eyed
I wait for the next
and the next
until I am cold.
It’s been an odd week. Sad really. I was inspired to write these poems by the the end of a marriage. Someone for whom I had made a wedding dress just a few years ago. She was an easy client. Delightful. It was a joyful time and it now seems pointless. A dress which took months to make and which was nurtured, now not wanted. I know that most people only wear their wedding dress once and then it’s put away in tissue but it’s still felt wherever it’s stored: on a shelf in a linen press, in a bottom drawer, in a mirrored dressing room. It has its place. But when things go awry, it’s a reminder of all that is wrong and the bond breaks.
There was another fitting after that first one.
Then another and another and then it was done.
Hanging, waiting in its white cotton case
Seams steamed open and bound with satin.
Bones anchored with tiny stitches
a silver thimble protecting punctured skin
pushing again and again
to make that curve,
that wasp waist.
Your dress is my dress too:
lived with me,
And I send it away with you and feel it gone.
My wedding dress was black silk velvet and I wore it ’til it fell apart. I still have my coat (it was February and cold) which is wrapped in pink tissue and lives in a box in my wardrobe. It’s made from black and gold Chinese silk with a filigree gold button that belonged to my grandmother.