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The Glass of Fashion

Mary Moore





The glass of before is always already full.

So the gee-gaws and knick-knacks of the new

occupy me. Whenever I’m awake,

I buy and buy.  Hence the trope of the lake:

My blue eyes mirror its empty one

like the lady who cannot be thought,

being so unformed, so made of silt

and veils of loam that she really is not.


Clothes don’t veil, but shape, harmonizing

with mood, draping one in choral

folds or pleating the bosom in sweet florals––

or so I think under impulse’s spell.

The recent purchase of the teal blue top,

silk, with ties under the bosom, is a sop

to hope, like the paisleys of my youth,

which, in style again, have the look of old truths,

meritorious ideals, so I buy flocks.

I’d always been belated, archaic.

The just resurrected bell bottoms appease

my lapsed left-wing politics; the denim

cuffs chime at my ankles.

                                                It’s the process

Of wanting, looking, touching, that addresses

the hole––where easy sleep, a self that needs

neither defence nor hyperbole,

where family goes––can be occupied

by closets full of skirts. The day’s pick, eyed

for hours, is tried on and replaced until mood

is satisfied and style unclouded

by utility.  Always, the slim catalogs

in saturated colors, the models’ swim-

muscled arms disposed sculpturally, dog

me with knowledge––the gnaw of fat, age, death.


The knowledge of death is the fuel of fashion.

The glass of before, full of past passions,

must be emptied, readied for new libations.

The new red dress, its hem a fillip

of silk, pleases me. It narrows my hips,

filling me with desiring to be full,

making me think I am, for a minute, whole.






A poet and teacher, Mary Moore has poems forthcoming in Evolutionary Review, an interdisciplinary journal of arts and sciences at SUNY, and has published most recently in both on-line and print magazines including Connotations Press; 2river view; American Poetry Journal; Prairie Schooner; Literary Mama Anthology; Coal, an Anthology; Kestrel; Sow’s Ear Review. Previous credits include Field, Poetry, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, Negative Capability, Quercus, Mockingbird and other little magazines. Her book, The Book of Snow, came out from Cleveland State U. Poetry Center in 1997, and a critical book, Desiring Voices, Women Sonneteers and Petrarchism, came out in 2000 from Southern Illinois University Press.  She teaches poetry and Renaissance literature including Shakespeare at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia and has a wonderful daughter who is an attorney in Northern California.

A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure. - Henry David Thoreau


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