The Big White Dress

The Big White Dress Poem

I will sew you a self
of moon-cloth,
color of angels
and aristocracy.
The shape will buoy you
till your head is an icon,
your hands twin flame
above the weeping guests.
What are nebulae
to this radiance?
The big white dress
floats up it knows
the clouds are its
correspondence,
the sky its bed.
I let it go,
work of a hundred hands
from a hundred ages.
Draping and tatting,
forbidden stitch,
our eyes made dim by it,
our spines bent
over lace, a thread loop,
such frailty—
like a huge bell of chalk,
made only to marvel at.
All that we know is beaded
in clusters and strung
on the spidery lines
between motifs,
and we ask nothing.
We do not ask
for the bloodspot,
for innocence blind
as a sheet, for shy
obeisance.
The linen is
laid for your path,
sheer as a blaze.
The dress incarnates a day,
the day we are trained for.
There is a song
at the end of it,
there is ascension.
Even your hair,
will flower,
and your pupils reflect,
the mass of corollas you clasp.

Lisa Rosenberg
first published in Shenandoah, vol. 49, no. 1, Spring 1999

The Big White Dress

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