Pick-a-Poem: Clothes in the Closet

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Hello, blog readers, and welcome to another installment of “Pick-a-Poem.” This week we pick another poem from Poetry Daily, the awesome site where we always find our featured poem of the week. The site offers a new poetry find each day, so if you’re looking for some new poets, check out the site! This week’s poem is entitled Clothes in the Closet, and it’s written by Martha Ronk.

According to her page on Poetry Daily, Martha Ronk has written “nine books of poetry, including Partially Kept (Nightboat Books); Vertigo (Coffee House), a National Poetry Series Selection; In a landscape of having to repeat (Omnidawn), a PEN/USA best poetry book 2005; and Why/Why Not (University of California Press). She has also published a fictional memoir, Displeasures of the Table, and a collection of fiction, Glass Grapes and other stories (BOA Editions). She is the Irma and Jay Price Professor of English at Occidental College in Los Angeles, teaching Renaissance Literature and Creative Writing.”

Clothes in the Closet, by Martha Ronk

Limp as dishcloths, they hang, useless in the backs of closets—jackets or dresses or shifts worn in years gone by. You might, you once thought, wear them again: that fashion might return, you might gain or lose weight, feel as swaggering or slightly demure. Lift shoulders, cross legs. You might try on the past as costume just to look in the mirror to see who it was who wore it. Some have disappeared in boxes to Goodwill. Some have been turned into rags. But some are draped in plastic and hang there year after year. They evoke extraordinary days—occasions for velvet or brocade. For a while there are the usual illusions of return, but ultimately, they are painful reminders that they won’t ever fit, not so much because of the body’s vagaries, but because even parody is impotent against the time that time has become.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s poetry selection. Come back for more next week or check the archives.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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