Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Fabric of My Life

As a child, there were wrinkles in my dresses.
Laundry was starched, kept damp, ironed.
Made for a much tidier presentation.

As soon as the heat from the iron dissipated,
The wrinkles were on their way back.
It was pretty obvious that I was unkempt.

You can never really keep a dress neat.
If it is cotton, and mine were, it will crease.
Creases don’t come out easily.

Starch it, sprinkle it, iron it.
No matter what, not crisp.
I was a rumpled child.

I remember when perma-press came along.
Amazing substance. No starching needed.
Dry it, wear it. It seemed like a cheat to me.

My mom loved perma-press.
She was overworked and under-helped.
Perma-press smoothed over a lot of things.

I like cotton. I like it just the way it comes.
Doesn’t need dye to be pretty.
If it wrinkles, I am plain ok with that.

My wrinkles are not only on dresses.
I show them on my face.
They highlight my eyes and my mouth

My husband loves my mouth
And I love my eyes.
There is truth to be seen in both.

I often wear a rumpled white shirt.
I love the feel of the cotton close to me.
The wrinkles just feel familiar and comfy.

I Once Knew Something

At the beginning of me, I was a clean sheet.
No words, no doodles, no marks.
I knew things then that I have lost.
They went the way of my illiteracy.
Tidied up and swept away.
I created poems and canvases and a child.
I took on a man and a vocation and a life.
Now clean sheets are where I wrap my babe,
where I make love to my man,
the place where I dream of my tomorrow and tomorrow.
Nothing showed on me back then,
not like now.
Scars and worry lines and smoker's wrinkles around my mouth.
I haven't smoked in 20 years, but there they are.
I wish I could remember what I came here knowing.
I feel it, like the piece of food between my teeth.
Tease at it, tease at it, suck on it.
But it just won't come.
And I can never leave a clean sheet lie.
I must fill it with doodles and words and my man and my life.