Julia Thacker

Little Black Dress and Julia
August 23, 2023 Thacker Julia

Little Black Dress


Puddled at my feet or ruched
to the waist, how easily I shimmied
in and out of you, flicked cigarette ash,
tiny embers, from your bodice, spilled
drinks like rain. You lent style, seriousness.
Unzipped in vans, nests of quilts,
Persian carpets (rug burns on my back),
balled-up skin of a selkie. Wingless, plucked,
plumed, aroma of fig pudding, squid ink.
Moths have made a feast of you.
Where is the night we slept on the beach,
the morning after, cloud-crusted, glittered
with sand. Give me back the barefoot
sky, tin bucket clattered with shells.





Latinate feminine form of Julius in use throughout Antiquity
(e.g. Saint of Corsica). Becoming rare during Middle Ages.
Revived only in the Italian Renaissance, J ornamented with foliage
and grotesques, strangled by vines. In dictionary bumping heads
with juju, jujube, juke. Forming part of adieu.
In my mother’s voice, jewels. Five letters drowning. Aromatic.
During our Dark Ages, she christens me Phony, Harlot, Bad With Money.
Says not to address her as Mother. I may call her June
or Bitch. Our battlements, our distance, inflected in clipped declaratives.
Pass the salt. As though we had never shared a body.
For years, I will not take her hand
until she is old, a ruin, who can’t remember my name.


Julia Thacker‘s poems appear or are forthcoming in Bennington ReviewThe Massachusetts ReviewPleiades and The New Republic. Twice a fellow of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, she has also received fellowships from the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe, the National Endowment for the Arts and Yaddo. A portfolio of her work is included in the 25th Anniversary Issue of Poetry International.