Let’s make a dress from these


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

Raucous rouge

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.