my favorite in high school, a dress I'd waited to see marked down and finally wrote the store, even then, able to get what I wanted
more easily on paper. I told them how often I'd come back, hoping it would be marked down and dashed up with my mother when they agreed to lower the price.
I feel the swirl of those gowns I ran my hand through, terrified mine wouldn't be there, then carrying it as carefully as a baby of blown glass.
It was so full my waist looked tiny inside it with hoops and an eyelet bustier. The dress took up half my mother's closet,
less space than I did in her, especially after she had me. I don't think I wore it again, too dressy, too much lace to pack. But I can see it near the yellow
and the pink and white gauzy gowns, swirling strapless, a part of 38 Main Street I expected to always be as it was, like my mother, waiting for me to fill it


Now, with most of the stuffing gone. In the early fifties, the grey cat peed on them. Pillows that our baby sitter, Lela, propped me against, asked did I want to play doctor, put her tongue in and then wanted me to stick my head in her big bush. Blue velvet, color of spilled ink, of midnight Vermont blues, waiting for David to call. Blue velvet, my mother would curl at one end of, me at another as my father's hair made a print on the gold chair where he never said anything. I'd prop blue velvet high up for ates and curl with my shoes off the dark, waiting for the closed dining room door to open. Velvet the color of Liz Taylor's eyes covered with Christmas paper after we no longer hid the tree in the closet, hearing Gramp come up stairs. Not scratchy but soft as a cat. My face in the blue. I could hear wind from Otter Creek. In the street below people were laughing 50 generations of cats could have dozed in this blue, the pillows as thin as a blue woman, used, flattened out, a blue mysterious as those all night blues you can't let go of


I was thinking of it this morning, those marvelous hairs that curl around your words
and how they smelled with frost all over in the mountains
And yes especially of that time on the floor looking like the middle part of a thick leggy bug I could
just see above my belly, moist and floating up asked
is this making your blood glow

© 1997 Lyn Lifshin