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.