Jehanne Dubrow

June 9, 2015 Jehanne Dubrow

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 five poetry collections, including most recently The Arranged Marriage (U of New Mexico P, 2015), Red Army Red (Northwestern UP, 2012), and Stateside (Northwestern UP, 2010). Her work has appeared in Virginia Quarterly ReviewThe New England Review, and Prairie Schooner. She is the Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House and an Associate Professor of creative writing at Washington College, where she edits the national literary journal, Cherry Tree.