Saturday, 3 June 2017

Things I Lament

 by Ellen LaFleche


That my wedding dress hangs in yellowing folds from a cellar rafter. 
That cobwebs cover the silk bodice like an overlay of lace. 
The lace-maker is a widow,
burdened with time’s hourglass on her arachnoid back.  

That lavender and mothballs fill my linen closet with the fust of aging.
That my pillow smells like a wrinkled neck powdered with Avon talc.
The Avon Lady is a widow,
 a tube of lipstick staining her palm like a blood-tipped bullet.  

That my wedding dress shivers its hips to the lace-maker’s touch.
That a pearl button droops above the zipper like a vertebral disc
slipped from its spine.
The dressmaker is a widow,
pins and threaded needles jutting from her teeth.

That my mirror cries and cries after my evening bath.
That my wet hair flings its tears into the fireplace flames.
The fire-tender is a widow,
ash and crackling sap singeing her broom.

That my wedding bouquet is powder and thorns in a cardboard box.
That the bouquet was seven white roses bound with ribbon and lace.
I am the grower of roses,
bags of bone meal stacked in the basement,
my widowed fingers stung by thorns, and stung again.


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Ellen LaFleche is the author of three chapbooks: Workers' Rites (Providence Athenaeum), Beatrice (Tiger's Eye Press) and Ovarian (Dallas Poets Community Press.)  She won the Tor House Poetry Prize, the New Millennium Poetry Prize, the Hunger Mountain Prize, and the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Prize.  She is an assistant judge for the North Street Book Prize and a freelance editor.  She is currently finishing a manuscript tentatively titled Walking into Lightning with a Metal Urn in My Hands, a collection of poems following the death of her husband to ALS.  "Things I Lament" is part of this manuscript.