April 16, 2011


by Amaranth Borsuk


A Valentine for Gertrude Stein

The redingote’s not for riding, not a bit, but a bit
revealing, the skirt’s shirring, a spur and a gathered
hem. A hem. A hem. A selvedge stiff
with wincing. So to divest you and also best you.
This is their mode.
Worsted weather and elsewhere
little spits and little spaces for sheen.

A dress of steam.
In the dress, a seam.
A seam and a self and a lustrous surface.
All this for seeming.
But a dress to address, I undress.
To address a dress, I digress, a digressive shudder,
a Dutch neck and a damask shoulder arrayed for gazing.
A ray of piping, a tailored taffeta possessed.
I pass passementerie, a fancy way of lying.
All this shows want of starching.

There is no shame in a drop skirt, there is yolk
and limning. Plain as poplin—a plaited pun
without any faggoting. There is jupe and jumping
and juniper bunting.
Of tiny shoes I can say nothing.
So I choose.
I choose Choos.
Now let us proceed with our notes on shopping.

Bio: Amaranth Borsuk is a poet, book artist, and scholar. She is the author of a chapbook, Tonal Saw (Song Cave, 2010), and the collaborative artist's book Between Page and Screen (www.betweenpageandscreen.com). Excess Exhibit, a book of conjoined poems written with performance artist and poet Kate Durbin, is forthcoming from ZG Press. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Field, Eleven Eleven, Colorado Review, Columbia Poetry Review, and Denver Quarterly, among other journals. She is currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at MIT.

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