Stained red medical slides layer vertically on sleeveless sheath,
high-necked and cut away from right shoulder to right hipbone.
Heavy overskirts of crimson ostrich feathers swish & switch,
thick & deliberate into plum-black feathered underskirt. They
obey the law of push. From the slightest pressure, they bloom.
Interpreter of alarm
Lover of syringe & tub water
Tongue at your throat
One thousand thin clappers
Summon the carnal bell
Smudge of poppies
Murder of corpuscular roses
So juiced they vogue
Rubies strewn on scarlet carpet
You stare. There is fire racing
Under your skin.
Twin to eros
Close your eyes to see me
Repeat me to feel me
At the end I go quietly
I take you with me.
“Let’s make a dress from these” is attributed to Alexander McQueen as he walked into his workroom with a handful of red medical slides; the poem is after the subsequent dress, from his collection Voss, Spring/Summer 2001.
Originally published in Watershed Review.