The (Blue) Skirt
... a response to closed forms

by Patricia J. Machmiller


The muscle, exhausted, has a downward bent–sags. Gravity works on the sinew, pulls down–pull down thy vanity, says Pound. How did he see vanity, pulled down–at the corner of the mouth, sagging, or was it illustrated on the cover of a magazine–Vanity Fair, for instance, where models, lean in their bones, their bones sticking through, up, against gravity, which pulls down, sags the stomach, the bladder, the form, sags, in the pull, the pulling down of the muscle which feels pulled down, let down, relaxed. Relaxed now, the toes released, then extended outward so that you can feel the relaxed muscle tense again upward against gravity, it can be seen, the relaxed state, unhampered. Meanwhile, a hamper sits, unravels after a time, painted new becomes less painted, chipped, perhaps a reed springs loose, sticks out like moussed hair, spronnng! unravels at the corner, shreds itself into fibers that scratch as you pass, catches the fabric of your skirt, blue chambray, that you are wearing, the three-cornered tear unravels, threads, unloosed in air, flap, disintegrate, the unraveling leaves short ends of fiber, blue, sticking out at the corners of the three-cornered tear in the skirt, blue. Mending it, thread binds itself in loops over and over recrossing itself. Still little ends stick out, unable to capture or be captured by the looping string of thread of blue which does not quite match the blue of the skirt fabric. A red sash holds the waist, binds the skirt up so that it does not sag, still gravity pulls on the sash, string, waist, thread, the hem falls, cannot resist in its attraction (desire?) for the ground, the forces acting upon the hem, act on the muscle under the blue skirt, fabric woven, wanting to loose itself from its binding, become free to flap in the air, catch on the ends of things, a chair, a mat woven of reeds, unravelling at the edges, a straw sticks out catching on the moving skirt, tatters, a three-cornered tear bound up again and again by thread resisting the pull of vanity, down vanity, gravity down, the pulling down, sag of thread, of being, mouth, corners, sash, untrammeled, reduced to, threads, to being un-ravelled again.


"The (Blue) Skirt . . . a response to closed forms" was first published in VOLT, No.2, Gillian Conoley, ed., published by Pacific Film & Literary Association and in association with Sonoma State University (Corte Madera, CA) Volume Three.

BIO: Patricia J. Machmiller has had poems published in Northwest Review, The Santa Clara Review, and VOLT. She lives in San Jose, CA.


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