Renee Emerson

What to Wear

A fit and flare, accordion pleats pressed, a dress
for the awful rowing; something lampblack,
Charon-dark, a skirt that flows out like a river,
that never stops like a river, that holds the water
cupped in its hands then through its fingers,
with golden buttons and clasps, color of the coin
you house in the perfect fence of baby teeth; a dress
with shoulders the color of soot, back of sable,
waist of onyx, a scalloped hemline, Peter-Pan collar,
sweet and simple curve of another child
who won’t grow old. Raven-colored, ink-permanent,
jet-fast, obsidian lace and pinked seams. Church-length,
with a row of covered buttons, hidden closure.

Renee Emerson’s poetry has been published in Indiana Review, Christianity and Literature, and Boxcar Poetry Review. She teaches at Shorter University and is the author of three chapbooks, most recently Where Nothing Can Grow (Batcat Press). She lives in Georgia with her husband and daughter.