It may be that the swath through life I cut
runs down a different seam than I once thought
would turn into a finished garment; what
great pattern looked so perfect when I bought
it, now seems out of style and so ill-fitting
that it more suits a clown, like a disguise
designed to fool my parents, and their unwitting
support of crazy dreams, sad notions and white lies.

What were once intended as fine robes of sable
turn out to wear so quickly, and to fray
along the dragging edges; I’m not able
to hide the muddy edges where the lining’s worn away.
Yet pretending that my world is still defined
by clothes that make the man who isn’t there
is little more than dress-up play. Only a blind
fool would pretend they haven’t noticed, or don’t care.

And who would go to Mardi Gras in rags,
or celebrate a ball in some worn, shabby gown?
Even the poorest ne’er-do-well will drag
a pompous get-up from the closet to paintroll the town.
So that loose-fitting, monstrous thing I’ve sewn
will never do to be seen in or see;
‘tho built with care, its appeal has not grown,
nor does it portray who I’d like to be.

I stand, quite sadly, naked to the mirror,
that will not, though I’ve bribed it, tell a lie;
The bright light overhead just makes much clearer
those flaws I’ve tried to cover, by and by.
These yards of cloth, whose colors seemed to suit me
some years ago, now seem too bold and garish;
and scars from scissors mar the look completely.
I cannot leave the house. I’m too embarrassed.

Yet, I can’t bear to don a robe and sandals,
or throw some shapeless mumu round my girth.
Besides, such things just fuel the neighbor’s scandals
who like to cast aspersions on my worth.
Am I these clothes? This look? This sense of fashion?
They hardly seem to fit me or my dreams,
or match the style and vigor of my passions,
which masquerade in a t-shirt and jeans.

02 MAY 2005

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