Silkie

You wouldn’t believe it to look at me now,
but I started out just a slip of a thing!
I remember still – musta been February
’81 or ’82 – ‘Nawlins.
I felt so out of place in a time of
golds, greens, and purples.
There I was, plain white.
But Oh! How gently she unwrapped
me from the box.
So delicately, she held me to her cheek.
I never knew until then that anything
could be softer than the silken skeins that made me.
And sure, the dress was the main event
but it was me she slipped into time and again
on quiet evenings. She’d twirl around her room –
her legs tingling as they swished against me.
The night of the ball came, the weight of
the brocaded dress crushing her against me.
Her flushed skin was like to sear a hole right through me!
Can you believe it was my responsibility
to keep that deadweight of a dress from tangling
in her legs as she strode across the dance floor?!
It wasn’t easy, but I think I did just fine.
She must’ve thought so too, because that old dress,
it was covered in plastic, stuck in the back of the closet.
Not me, no ma’am.
She wore me again and again
until her body grew too large
to slide into my cool smoothness.
But then my fears came true.
I was covered in the dreaded plastic,
placed in a box, bumped around.
Smooshed, smashed, squashed.
I thought I’d never feel her again.
It was dark for so long.
The plastic turned out to be a blessing
for it kept the spiders and moths from
making a nest out of my fine fibers.
Suddenly light broke in, the plastic was opened
and an overwhelming mustiness seeped in.
I tell you, it was enough to make my fringe curl!
I couldn’t believe it as her fingers smoothed me.
They were different than I remembered,
not quite as soft yet still gentle.
She didn’t slide into me as I expected she would.
First, I was given a lovely warm bath
and then tumbled around with soft cotton sheets
until we were all warm and snug.
I clung to the cotton and was shocked
when she separated us.
Then she did the strangest thing.
She slid me next to a cheek even
softer than hers!
I was not at all pleased because
after a while, I was drooled on!
From a Debutante Ball to Baby Drool?!
I felt so undignified. I wasn’t some
cheap rayon or polyester blend you know.
Yet…he rubbed me between his fingers,
just the way she did that first time she held me.
And, well, he’s taken me on more adventures
than I can even recall.
There was that trip to the circus –
I still have the oil fingerprints on me somewhere!
And the time he threw up all over me.
I wasn’t sure the smell
would ever go away.
She found some wonderful stuff though,
they call it Febreeze.
A few bleach baths and a squirt of that,
I was good as new.
Of course, I’ve started to unravel a bit.
You would too, if you were dragged
across gravel and sand, caught in car doors
and used to tease cats!
It’s ok though because every night,
I’m snuggled up next to cheeks smoother
than satin.
I’m tattered and torn, I know.
But boy oh boy am I ever loved.
10.14.03/11.17am

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