1960-something. This was the week of frantic sewing,
of dotted Swiss and seersucker and sometimes
pink wool, for a coat cinched with a chain belt.
Of dresses passed down, cut down to size,
of rick-rack and hand-sewn hems. Of buttons
plucked from the button-tin, lucky if matched.
All was new or nearly new or new to me:
white gloves soft as a rabbit's ear, stretchy itchy
knit gloves, gloves with a single pearly button.
Shoes to grow-into, and a hat
strapped with elastic under the chin.
At last we marched off to mass, my five sisters
and I, fussy in last-minutes stitches.
Impatient with The Strife is O'er -- the dirge of it!
I wanted only to shed this Easter skin,
this membrane of prettiness, and escape
to the topmost branches of a maple
where I could blast my hymns,
my solo Alleluia's to the treetops,
swaying on thin limbs.