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What Oh What to Wear

Not the ladybug earrings nor the teal heels,
even though they travel well. It is not
an eyeliner sort of day, not a blush
afternoon. Didn't the fangs I once wore
make her lurch back—witch sister,
which sister . . . the one hovering
in a black sheath, or the one with lips
stitched into pink forgetfulness?

Consider the mourners more. Give them
the unctuousness of gray hose, the cliché
of black pumps. In this sweater I too much
resemble her. Should I save the pennies
from her loafers to cover my own damned eyes?

The silk scarf isn't purple enough to rewind
the pleas, the please. The prayers we peppered
and salted never cured shit. Won't these
pearls let me tell the one who says, "Oh
she looks like she's sleeping so peacefully," no,
no she does not. I have seen her sleeping,
and she never looked like that, with each
of the hands I once clung to
now clinging only to one another
from here through the rest of time.

Nance Van Winckel

The Gettysburg Review

Winter 2013

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