Her plaid dress
reminded me of
a two-piece cotton
I wore at seventeen,
though I have never
liked plaids.
I remember it,
the way I do
remember my clothes,
because at any one
moment there is
something I am
fiercely loyal to.
Just now it is silk.

Back then there was
the pink wool pleated
with matching pullover.
And the shoes I bought
too large, because I
needed something perfect
for a date that night.
I was always that way,
short-sighted in my
pursuit of perfection,
so that it was mangled
and twisted into something
recognizable only as
foolishness. Still it
was perfection pushing me,
however ill-informed.

It is was perfection too
I saw in that soft pink purse
I had in sixth grade, which
I often recall as others might
a memorable trip. Its shoes
were not a perfect match,
which always troubled me,
of course.
And the Easter suit
that accompanied it
was never right
at all.

I wrote a list once
of favorite clothes
I had thrown away,
it was the only way
I could let them go.
I have often thought
I do not own a wardrobe
so much as marry
certain garments.

Like that eggshell
two-piece polished cotton
in junior high.
I always preferred
co-ordinates, though
I called them
skirt and blouse.

I wish I could remember
the belt, belts have
always been more important
than the dress,
even now it’s true.
Accessories, well –
everything is in
the details,
and always
has been.

And white tennies,
I think that’s what
we wore then –
except for the lucky
girl who had them
in every color.
Wasn’t that everyone’s
dream –
red tennis shoes
and green.

He wore levis and
a shirt with the sleeves
rolled up.

It might have been
our only date,
shortly thereafter
he took up with
someone his own
age, my friend said
because she was ready.

We always called her
by her last name
with a tone that
did nothing to
bring him back.

I always considered
the outfit lucky,
the way athletes do,
but really after that
it never was.