The Dress

The material
From which the dress will be made
Is white dotted swiss.

The dress will have short sleeves,
A tight bodice and a skirt that swirls
Like a cloud of edelweiss.

There will be white patent leather
Sandals and a white prayer book
With a bumpy texture.

This child
Will be the daughter of Sundays.
She will open her mouth for the host.

I never remember
Wearing that dress
Though I remember how she sat

At the Singer with its needle flashing
As she pushed fabric
Over the steel platen.

I remember
The measuring tape
And a hem of pins sticking my legs.

I must have been
Born a disbeliever.
She must have failed

In her devotions. In marrying
A man of science, never admitted
To the sacristy.

She holds up the completed
Dress. I remember it.
I don’t remember putting it on.

Joan Colby's work has appeared widely in journals, including Poetry, Atlanta Review, and South Dakota Review. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published sixteen books, including Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press, which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize, and Ribcage from Glass Lyre Press, which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize.She is an associate editor of Kentucky Review.

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