Negligee

  Their hands,
like cracked lumpy clay,
soak in the dishwater
of my mother's sink,
washing another Thanksgiving
off her silverware,
lauging as they recite
their tales of surrender.

  Some women fasten their sexuality
to the fluid curves
of waist and hip
and gaze back behind low hung eyes,
tempting, "come and get it,"
at the stares that follow.

  Our grandmothers wore it white
walking down wedding isles;
its sweet resonance was sung
and relinquished in their husband's
first shreadflesh kiss.
They passed down these blessings
of womanscent white silk spun innocence
for his eyes only.

  But fifty years have tainted
its spring violet wedding.
It smells of closets, collected dust
of drafty, hardwood houses.
It doesn't fit over
stretch fishnetted thighs
and nothing,
not bone china dowries,
not blood stained cotton sheets
of Caribbean honeymoons
can refill the red wine bottled the year of my birth
uncorked and drained in a first night's sip.

  Now women soak their sex
in hot water bubblebaths,
they pat it dry with crimson towels
and wear it as a badge of their blossoming.

  Grandmother, I will not wear your negligee.
I have sewn my own.
I cannot let you embroider my wedding gown
with sequins and baby pearls
the shape of frozen tears.
But still, my ringless fingers will share
the muddy dishwater with you;
sudsy from scrubbing Thanksgiving shiny,
in the narrow bowl of my mother's sink.

  By Marisa Torrieri