width=61 height=87> Voracious Verses


Jeanne Marie Beaumont
featured poet

Concerning the Details of Her Dress

About the little mirrors, she says
	Approaching demons glimpse themselves
	and are scared away.
Of the numerous buttons, she says
	A few fasten, the rest are falseó
	sewn on to baffle the devil.
Of the drawstring at sleeves and neck, says
	These I tighten at twilight
	to keep out mosquitoes.
Of the long fringe at the shoulders, says
	To distract the eye of my enemy
	& enchant the eye of my ally.
Of the dense embroidery on the bodice, says
	It inhibits rending.
Of the long beaded tassels dangling between her legs, she says
	This is my male power, advancing,
And of the ruffles crossing her back,
	My female power reinforcing my spine.
And why are the hems doubled?
	They should skim the earth without fraying.
And why are the hems doubled?
	They will twice bless the prostrator.
The twelve pleats are for the months?
	For the twelve chosen for the fold.
And the sash that trails from the back?
	Tail of my animal guide, wise rudder.
Did you make it yourself?
	while I was sleeping.
Why is it blue?
	Because it is 90% water.
Why is it yellow?
	Because it's a sundress.
Why is it red?
	Because I pricked my finger while stitching it.
Why is it white?
	It is not white.
Why is it green?
	Because it is new.
Why is it purple?
	Because it itches so much.
Concerning the material, she says
	I pieced it from rags of my childhood:
	the collar was saved from my christening gown,
	these pockets from my first-grade uniform . . . 
Oh, what do you carry in your pockets?
	I carry on and out.
Is it reversible?
	Why do you ask?
	Only in tears.
But, why is it white?
	Look away, I'm afraid it is blinding you.

From Curious Conduct (BOA Editions 2004) by Jeanne Marie Beaumont
copyright © 2004. Used by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

More information and additional work
by this featured poet