Ode to a Dressmaker's Dummy

Donald Justice

 
Papier-mache body; blue-and-black cotton jersey cover.
Metal stand. Instructions included. 
                 --Sears, Roebuck Catalogue
              O my coy darling, still
              You wear for me the scent
         Of those long afternoons we spent,
               The two of us together,
    Safe in the attic from the jealous eyes
                 Of household spies
    And the remote buffooneries of the weather;
                         So high,
    Our sole remaining neighbor was the sky,
              Which, often enough, at dusk,
    Leaning its cloudy shoulders on the sill,
Used to regard us with a bored and cynical eye.
              How like the terrified,
              Shy figure of a bride
         You stood there then, without your clothes,
                  Drawn up into
         So classic and so strict a pose
      Almost, it seemed, our little attic grew
Dark with the first charmed night of the honeymoon.
         Or was it only some obscure
      Shape of my mother's youth I saw in you,
There where the rude shadows of the afternoon
         Crept up your ankles and you stood
         Hiding your sex as best you could?--
         Prim ghost the evening light shone through.
 
From A Donald Justice Reader: Selected Poetry and Prose, by Donald Justice, published by Middlebury/The University of New England Press. Copyright © 1991 by Donald Justice. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Further Reading

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