Barely five and ribbons, stiff green net,
with white shoes, freshly primed, smelling
acrid, ready to step carefully behind the
bride, with hair pinned, pulled too tight;
a band of fake flowers holding to my head.
Another dress, a few years later, green,
flouncing skirt, ready for Spring, still
smelling of starch fitted around the chest;
no room to move, held with tiny fears,
pinning it tight, so it would not be spoiled.
And then just eleven, white, with printed
flowers, shining cotton, banded orange, narrow
at the waist, short sleeves, round neck, plain
more than pretty; sorrowful for the three summers
that my mother was in hospital, to be made better.
Years then, when frocks for small girls, made
to mother younger siblings, were forgotten,
never to come again as circumstance and
adolescence claimed their ground, dismissing
such seasonal frivolities.....