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This Night Slip In His Honor (after Komachi)

 This night slip, in his honor
flipped inside out – of lace-
edged netting – is the color
of Shaka Zulu’s face;

of panther flower at midnight
where crow and boa doze;
of vertigo and stage fright
in frail Ophelia’s clothes.
I wear it as a symbol.
Its ripped, Chantilly trim I fixed without a thimble, was pricked and bled for him.
A torn band may be mended, but what if he and I disband, no longer blended? My spine turned to the sky, reflecting on my dresser from mirror-fine sateens: the Great Bear with the Lesser… I dream of Shoji screens, and when desire becomes an overlaying itch, the throbbing in my thumbs untenable to stitch, sleek, fitted, with the passion of Shaka Zulu’s face, reversed and fringe-of-fashion, I put it on, in place of achromatic egrets, the vacant crystal ball.
Victoria has secrets.
I am her baby doll.

by Jennifer Reeser
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