SKIRT, MY PRETTY NAME - Quentin James Reynolds Poems


Poems » quentin (james) reynolds » skirt my pretty name


and the space between my name and myself grows larger until...
       – Rosalie Sings Alone

after several valium and a cup of coffee, I
  feel sweet and contented. the city is dangerous,
prurient and I am a woman of mystery. I ask
  the waitress for some napkins and whisper,
my husband's brains are in my hands. I ask her
  to regard the blood and tissue, the horror of my
dress. I am wearing tinted sunglasses, a chiffon
  scarf, patterned with lemons and cherries,
my wig, my hair is concealed, it really is
  awful, a cerise coloured rat's nest and it itches,
badly. when I leave, I move smoothly through the streets,
  clutching my shopping bags; I fit my key into
the lock and gaze at my calling card, that reads:
  skirt, my pretty name

I am applying lee press on nails and listening to
  The Magic of Mantovani. I am having a nervous
breakdown. you don't bring me flowers, I remember
  coming home once and finding a sprig of lilacs
on my doorstep and I held them and I thought of him
  l love. he was a merchant marine, and I was his
noviciate. I held conch shells to his ears
  while he slept, so he could hear the sea,
the sheets billowed like sails when he kissed
  me. he would powder my nose, he traced his
fingers down my thighs, my flaw. he was never,
  he was rarely cruel to me. when he left, I
wore a mourning veil and sewed starfish over my
  eyes. I cried like a siren, I slashed my
wrists with a broken bottle. it lay on the carpet
  shattered, with a message, a silver ship in
its base

weeks in the hospital, without perfume, or candy,
  and I still have no friends. yesterday, a man
came over to me and screamed about the accident, the
  blood! I shrank, smaller, into my sweater
and imagined I was somewhere else. the women in the
  restaurant smile when I take their pictures
with a pink instamatic and I offer them spoonfuls of
  chocolate, my number. I am staring at the
telephone now, willing it to ring, cradling it in my
  arms and my stomach is turning. I beat myself
with my fists, I stick my ribs with pins and
  needles, my loneliness is relentless. I see
its constancy in the spreading bruises, the green
  and yellow echoes. I am the quietest object here,
I could rest here always, never moving

only breathing, the faintest shadow. slowly
  turning the pages of my library book:
Fashion in the 1970's and naming the dances
  under my breath. I would step from
side to side and do the hustle, but I am
  tired and solemn. I am the light that
jewels their white pantsuits; the mirrored
  disco ball made of shattered stars.
the dancers sway beneath me in an orbit and
  sometimes stare, with a comb or a
tissue. they see that they are broken,
  mortal, and they look away.