My Blue Dress
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.'