• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 09
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I. The tailor
He fashions suits and dresses
out of silk and scraps—the point’s
the process, tiny identical
stitches orbiting the buttonholes,
hems and cuffs turned like
hospital corners, the fabric’s
immaculate fit. He must
make each piece to order
for its own sake, transform
the ordinary. After measuring
the body, he’d rather not
look back at it again, preferring
to imagine the ideal. This red
gown will hang like a Chinese
Maple leaf ready to fall, the body
a whisper under the weave.
From the bodice, with its tiny
tucks and folds, will rise
the shoulders, the head on its
stem of neck, the upswept
nape-- a violet, just
burst from the bud.



II. The girl
I ought to be wearing
nothing but my own
smooth skin. To please
others, I bind my body
in silk, a pale lacewing fly
caught in a web of social
conventions. They have
decreed I must teeter
on tight, pointed shoes.
The tailor, consulting his
measurements, never looks
into my eyes, hardly sees me.
In this he is no different
from so many others, with their
ready-made notions of who
I am, who I ought to be.