Jo read this at the BeanRunner. It made all of us very nervous. It was another poem about loss, but not about physical death like the others.
Putting Away My Bras
They are clean and papery gray and the lace, if
there is any lace, is torn, and the atrophied straps
are hitched tight in their plastic pincers.
The underwire on one
pokes up, no wonder the fire-
red itch on my rib. They are scentless
and warm from the dryer. Once they were pretty.
I bought them because I wished I were pretty.
Now the hooks grab and ravel
my socks. My bras are nothing at all
like my father’s exact-fitting hand during beauty
pageants on TV. We sat on the couch
in his musty study and watched them;
he asked me why I couldn’t
look like that, he dangled his arm over
my shoulder’s ledge, he touched me and I
made believe he did not, I tried
his drink and chit-chatted with him
and my mother, and each of us picked the girl
we liked best, my tit staring into his palm.
Frannie Lindsay cleverly uses the images of everyday objects and situations to tell this story. For “Poems That Make Us Nervous,” I brought in a poem of Anne Sexton which will be on my next blog entry. “Putting Away My Bras,” reminded me of the women poets of Sexton’s generation: those early feminists who used lots of domestic elements in their work. That was what women knew. That was their turf. Frannie Lindsay shows their influence but but finds a highly original way to create a compelling poem about the kind of loss that lasts a lifetime. The line”…the lace, if there is any lace, is torn…” which I feel is the heart of this heartbreaking poem, filled me with profound sadness.