Purple Dress, 1945, a poem by Fay L. Loomis at Spillwords.com

Purple Dress, 1945

Purple Dress, 1945

written by: Fay L. Loomis


she wears hand-me-down
saved for special occasion
to Sunday school picnic

solid purple dress
soft, bumpy
crepe, mom said

wide-eyed, she and sister feast:
buns made just for hotdogs,
potato chips, red pop

gazelle girls
arms, legs giddy
gambol across picnic tables

leg crashes through rotted board
she screams, tentacle-armed
ladies yank child, drop to ground

teacher shrills: good lord!
has the devil gotten hold of you,
made you misbehave?

should have known,
unsuitable dress,
harlot’s color.

sisters footslog home
dark silence
no jabbering

she strips away torn dress
shrouds self in farm clothes
strikes out for barn to feed animals

veers toward rusted trash barrel
throws wad on coals, flames curl
around dress like shame around her heart

she watches purple turn to ash

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