Jehanne Dubrow

June 9, 2015 Dubrow Jehanne

Elegy with Full Dress Blues

after Mark Irwin


Early in our marriage I would stand
at the edge
of his closet like a visitor
at a planetarium,
often only a finger lifted toward the bright
lacing at the sleeve or the stars
in their glinting thread
and pretend that all
this fabric was a well-constructed sky,
night made orderly
as a row of brass buttons,
on nearby hangers shirts glowing
the same white
as some precise and flattened moon,
which almost I could touch,
if not for the worry
of wrinkling, and the satin
cummerbund that bounded the evening
in an ellipse
the size of a waist,
although it was polyester and more yellow
than gold, and the gilded
studs at the wrists not genuine points
of safety but paste, the dusky
lacquer of his plastic shoes,
and most of all pairs of opaque gloves
laid out on a tray, pale series
of consequential hands,
their tips a little smudged
and gesturing
at a darker hour I could almost see.

Jehanne Dubrow is the author of nine poetry collections, including most recently Wild Kingdom (Louisiana State University Press, 2021), and two books of creative nonfiction, throughsmoke: an essay in notes (New Rivers Press, 2019) and Taste: A Book of Small Bites (Columbia University Press, 2022). Her third book of nonfiction, Exhibitions: Essays On Art & Atrocity, will be published by University of New Mexico Press in 2023. Her writing has appeared in POETRY, New England Review, Colorado Review, and The Southern Review. She is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Texas.