May 23, 2011

An Abridged History of Costume

by Stacy Gnall

II. Ancient Greek

To move as through a bloom:
the mode by which bodies are draped.

IX. Baroque

Look at this beribboned bird, his indoor richness.
See how slow he swaggers, his asymmetry casual.
You will have heard his myth:
Oh, oh! His thrust. And oh! His plume.
His ego. His garland halfway to Apollo.

X. Rococo

A fishing for rocks and shells
from the frothy shores of heads.

XII. French Revolution

Incroyable. The body
as propaganda. Fear
of the blade
worn on sleeves
as cockades. Lapels
propelling rebellion
from eve to garnet eve.

XVI. Gay Nineties (& 1920’s)

Your shoulders stood at attention before the century,
and your daughters in wait beneath your boning.
The size of pearls, like pearls. Waiting to be swung.

Bio: Stacy Gnall is from Cleveland, Ohio. She earned her BA at Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA at the University of Alabama. Her poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, The Florida Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Indiana Review, The Laurel Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. She is currently working on her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. She lives in Los Angeles, and her first book, Heart First into the Forest, is just out from Alice James Books.

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