The Eastern European Girl’s Closet


deconstruct the closet of her anger.
examine the wardrobe of her broken expectations.
Pry open the wounds of her dresses:
ask them why they hurt when pressed against her skin.
They will tell you
her body is the grief in the mouth of language,
the last round of ammunition
for a heart that does not believe in ceasefire.
Coerce the little black dress
to navigate you through the evacuation plan,
ask it to brief you through the drills
for deportation or an abrupt funeral.
Run your fingers on the green card number
carved in ink inside its collar.
It will tell you she still believes in being found.
Ask her wedding dress why some days
it sings an ice cream truck melody
and some days it screams a tornado siren.
It will ballad you through the legend
of predisposed calamity;
synthetic fear blended in the same weave
with the certainty of loss.
Ask the skirts to chart the topography of loneliness
in rooms full of coral women in sparkling gowns.
They will tell you of the slavery her skin cannot claim,
the wrong color dialect of her timid Braille scars.
When you stumble upon the red dress you will know,
by now she has mastered the art of fitting
into tight foreign languages, and other women’s shoes.
See how the neckline plunges fearlessly into another culture,
perfectly matched by her stylish survival
a versatile accessory, a must have for all seasons.
Examine carefully how it armors her body,
how it fools a room into becoming her ally.
Do not mistake this dress
for an elaborate surrender.
Note how its ignition temperature
equals the fury of gunpowder;
this dress is her last bullet,
and she, the apt soldier
knows when to reach for it,
in days she finds herself surrounded.


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