Molly Peacock

Clothes
November 22, 2019 Peacock Molly

CLOTHES
 

Because other things needed buying,
I stopped shopping for clothes, and it forced me
to the back of the closet, where I threw out
what I didn’t wear till there were spaces
between the hangers. But even the sturdy
expensive things had their wear marks.
Pilling cashmere. Cat hair permanently
woven into knits. Grease-speckled silk.
I touched what I’d wear before I grabbed it.
Felt it before I put my body in it.
Steamed it. Washed it. Laid it flat to dry. Ironed it.
They were themselves, the pants, the blouses,
the lone skirt and few dresses. Some had waited
years to be slipped on like this—to be known.
I knew them. They clung to me. “You’re like us,”
they said. And it was true that I needed ironing
and could not be worn in too strong a light.

Molly Peacock is a widely anthologized poet and biographer.  Co-creator of Poetry in Motion on New York City’s buses and subways, her latest collection of poems is The Analyst (W.W. Norton).  A Leon Levy Fellow, she is the author of the biography The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 and is now at work on The Flower Diary of Mary Hiester Reid:  the Art of Matrimony.