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Dressing for Mourning

By: Anne Stephanie Cruz

I dressed for mourning in black string underwear,
mutely condoling with me by snugly hugging
milk-white skin, where I am most vulnerable.

True, that’s the only support
swatches of barely-there fabric are meant to give,
but to a woman about to come to terms with grief,
they’re modern-day chainmail and armor.

She puts them on piece by piece,
gently tugging at strings and straps
until she fits into pre-cast molds of black.
Like satin hands slipping into iron gloves,
she remains the same sensuous woman he adores.
However, this time strong enough
to wield goodbyes and walk away
unimpaled by her own sorrow.

Only after the cycle has closed
does she abandon her stance, strip;
and in absolute nakedness--weep.

When a woman like me dresses for mourning
in black string underwear, laugh not:
it means you tried, but weren’t strong enough—
and that you leave me no other prerogative
but to sever the very fibers that formed and knotted
this odd friendship of sorts, as only I know how.

Tonight, for our mutual benefit,
kiss me then hand me the scissors.


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