Saturday

It was, it was explained to me,
a holiday to enter spring
while honoring the dead
and so its celebration was

a picnic in a cemetery. Flowers
and fruit and fish
cooked as her father liked
and a kind of pastry

that had been her uncle’s
nickname. Her aunt was
bringing paper iPhones, purses
and a little villa just for fun

to burn. I passed carts
selling them as I walked up
the slope behind the city
hospital. A child

climbed a parked car
shouting that he was
a horse. I took
a picture and the colors

on screen looked richer, less
treacherous. Downhill
a stadium surrounded
by white trailers. Underwear

hung from the clotheslines.
I took a picture of myself
but I did not appear
the person that I was.

The picnic would be
nearly done. She’d said
they’d leave behind
chrysanthemums

made of cloth to last
and scented so they smelled
not like chrysanthemums
but like a woman.
 

More by Margaret Ross

Socks

The socks came in a pack of five.
What is the most boring subject
possible? Translucent blue
with punctures pierced to shape
a star around the ankle.
I carried them along the aisles
as if I needed them. I fingered
lacquered dishes and the rubber heads
of mallets, crystal trinkets
stitched to underwear.
Wherever you go, this buffering.
A dull hour. All that time
I could have touched you and didn’t
or did absentminded, getting in
or out of bed or trying to reach
something behind you.
I didn’t need anything
I could buy. I bought the socks
and a slatted spoon I haven’t used.
Blue interrupted by the living points
of constellated skin. I’ve been
looking for a long time
at the stretch of table where you had
your hand. I am afraid
to touch it. Love, all I’ve ever
seen is things in airless dense
configuration and no transparency.

Related Poems

Ode to a Dressmaker's Dummy

Papier-mache body; blue-and-black cotton jersey cover.
Metal stand. Instructions included.
   --Sears, Roebuck Catalogue
              O my coy darling, still
              You wear for me the scent
         Of those long afternoons we spent,
               The two of us together,
    Safe in the attic from the jealous eyes
                 Of household spies
    And the remote buffooneries of the weather;
                         So high,
    Our sole remaining neighbor was the sky,
              Which, often enough, at dusk,
    Leaning its cloudy shoulders on the sill,
Used to regard us with a bored and cynical eye.

              How like the terrified,
              Shy figure of a bride
         You stood there then, without your clothes,
                  Drawn up into
         So classic and so strict a pose
      Almost, it seemed, our little attic grew
Dark with the first charmed night of the honeymoon.
         Or was it only some obscure
      Shape of my mother's youth I saw in you,
There where the rude shadows of the afternoon
         Crept up your ankles and you stood
         Hiding your sex as best you could?--
         Prim ghost the evening light shone through.