Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Spring 2006, vol 4 no 1


My Blue Dress
Helen Ruggieri


The day I bought my blue dress was like a conspiracy of cotton. I imagined a Guatemalan woman looming it with dark fingers, her face flat, so closed, not even a daughter could read it. She cast a spell, a shadow, as if poverty were sewn into the dress, the orange flowers embroidered on it, about to explode; the blue under the half-moons of her nails, bleeding into the fabric's dye. As I browsed, a young girl, wearing an orange shirt, ran from the store with items she'd shoplifted. A clerk gave chase and brought her back, crying, promising never to do it again, saying she'd work it off, begging the owner not to call the cops, or her mother. We waited, an audience posing as shoppers. I stood in the three-way mirror watching myself in a dress, the shoplifter who loved beautiful things, and behind me, the dark woman who makes them, deciding in another mirror, as each of us had, what we would make, or buy, or take. Whenever I wear that blue dress, it wavers, the way a flame does in a breeze, the orange breaking through.


old window glass -
my reflection wavers


Helen Ruggieri has had haibun in the World Haiku Review, Charabanc, Bottle Rockets, Spoon River Review, and essays in Cream City Review, The Heartlands, Quarter After Eight, and a new anthology from Putnam/Tarcher - How I Learned to Cook, edited by Margo Perin.

Her haiku have appeared in World Haiku Review, The Mainichi Daily News, Daily Yomiuri, Presence (England), and in Modern Haiku.

She recently won the 30th annual Hart Crane award sponsored by Icon at Kent State University for her poem, 'A Japanese Fable.'