Birthday Skirt

She has been alone for twelve years,
Remembers only the birthdays of dead people.
She shared one with Birdie, her brother’s wife,
who spoke in questions and smiles,
and said of the only daring skirt she ever made,
“Interesting pattern choice for you, Montie,”
while blowing cigarette smoke past her ear.
Birdie wore department store clothes and smelled pink.
She had an Audrey Hepburn neck and blonde hair
Bubbled into a sunrise display. Men stopped
talking when she entered a room. The skirt,
long since cut apart and used for doll clothes,
was V-striped in bright tones of orange, red
and yellow, and trimmed inside with delicate ivory lace.

–Shaun Perkins

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