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The Gold Dresses
by Lyn Lifshin

The threads glisten, almost
a night light untouched,
not worn for years: my
mother's dress for the
wedding in photographs
in a film my sister hoards so
you can't see my mother's
arms move toward me,
how the bright petals were
less bright than her eyes.
The dress waits, encrusted
as moss on a stone. Sequins
would have lost their color
by now like her bones. If I
put it on, it might scorch like
iced railings on a tongue. For
one day, it held my mother
like a vase and she bloomed
like the lilacs in the myth of
the apartment a gone lover
filled with orchid, lavender,
violet and snow boughs.
When it held her, it held her
as close as a lover, didn't
suffocate but let her move
and dance, hold me in the
mirror. Never something I
would or could wear, I
brought it to my house to
hang like a totem, a river
of what's gone, the print a
leaf makes in stone or amber.
The dress takes a deep breath,
waits patiently for something
that filled it to fill it again

Lyn Lifshin Bio

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