The memory of clothes

The memory of clothes

Somewhere in a filing room with corrugated cardboard and dried blood

Her skirt of 06 is folded by a uniformed man

Who isn’t used to folding women’s clothes.

She’ll not be wearing it again

It’s evidence of a crime committed

Of a bad start and a hundred reasons why

Gut instinct should be heeded

Something she didn’t know back then

Packing and unpacking

The acutrements of a life

Worn a little faded and down at the sole.

Some days she’d sleep

In your oversized rock concert T-shirt

Smelling the distant indifference of your brand of love

Others, it’d be the outline of a coat hung in hallway

Reminding her of nightmares she thought left behind.

Wherever you go there you are

The psychology majors chimed in falcetto chorus

And they didn’t know she was running because she was so versed at standing in place

“Cheese” Smile for the camera, the paedophile, the friend who isn’t

That day she wore a pink beret and she’s always worn hats

To disguise herself from her own scrutiny.

You liked those scarlet hose and how her underwear didn’t match

You even liked the outline she left in your well worn yellow bedsheets.

Despite that she’s a ghost

Wearing hand me down clothes without label

Posing in storefronts

For feelings dipped in formaldehyde.

If she could step into a time machine

She’d escape her own bad tempo

Retreating to a distant past

Where the clothes she wore

Carried no memory

Or voices scolding over radio wave

Like a diver unable to exclaim aloud

When the white whale comes into view.

That’s all she sees sometimes

Outlines, shadows and snuff stinging her eyes

Snapshots of who she was before

The picture was over-exposed.

There she is

Running breathless down a stony beach

Toward nothing and no-one and still

There’s a peace in her eyes that’s absent, she makes up for

With midnight blue and eighties pink

Just like kids who paint their dolls and dress them

Ready to begin a new game

Never considering

What happens

On the other side

Of starting over.

They sell her size by the dozen

And other women wear it well

She’s ready to dissolve to the bottom

Like malt and sugar stirs with mint

And creates momentary confusion

Is it sweet?

Or is it bitter?

Try her on

She’s a glove that may fit

Or maybe

Your fingers will be too short, too long

Your palm a might too thick

With her Pantone of regret.

16 thoughts on “The memory of clothes

  1. How many selfs are hung in a closet?
    How many packed away in an attic?
    How many are dropped off at Goodwill?
    How many mourned as too threadbare
    For any fate but trash?
    Are any truly forgotten, left behind
    With not even a ghost remaining?
    Or was Faulkner right that
    “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” ?

  2. With everything that can be felt throughout every line, I thought the ending lines summed this piece up perfectly:

    “Is it sweet?
    Or is it bitter?
    Try her on
    She’s a glove that may fit
    Or maybe
    Your fingers will be too short, too long
    Your palm a might too thick
    With her Pantone of regret”

    This is solid writing, Candice. Quite solid, indeed.

  3. Who should know better than that brilliant and acute native observer of our American South?

    This living world has no straight lines. It is all loops and circles and squiggles in both time and space, accumulating stories.

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