Monday, 8 August 2011

The Dress by Greta Stoddart

Then it will stand alone and listen to the new silence,
feel the empty air breathe in and out and where it will,
filling old creases, blowing away warm impressions.
Itself again, chaste, regal, as if it had been waiting
for this moment to return to its mannequin form;
delicate husk, untouched, unworn, it can hang now
if it wants, swing its lonely folds behind a door.

In time it might forget the body who lived inside it,
that quick and lovely thing whose eager skin filled
to bursting every curve and seam. It might forget
the first stain, the nips and small tears, the cunning
unravelling of thread that followed as a matter of course before
the final tumble, the fumbling, the cursing and the rip
when it was thrown across the floor to lie, flayed

- perhaps ruined, as it had to be taken away,
laid out beneath an interrogation of lights
where a man in a gown, in a whirl of steam and gas, bowed
his head to the task: to remove the occasion from the dress.
And when it was done he wrapped it up and it shone
from so much attention and loss, its intimate tucks and folds
re-pressed, dry, clean and beautifully stitched up.

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