151: The Fitting

151: The Fitting

The Fitting
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The fitter said, “Madame, vous avez maigri,”
And pinched together a handful of skirt at my hip.
Tant mieux,” I said, and looked away slowly, and took my
             under-lip
Softly between my teeth.
                                       Rip—rip!

Out came the seam, and was pinned together in another
             place.
She knelt before me, a hardworking woman with a familiar
             and unknown face,
Dressed in linty black, very tight in the arm’s-eye and smell-
             ing of sweat.

She rose, lifting my arm, and set her cold shears against
             me,—snip-snip;
Her knuckles gouged my breast. My drooped eyes lifted
             to my guarded eyes in the glass, and glanced away as
             from someone they had never met.

Ah, que madame a maigri!” cried the vendeuse, coming in
             with dresses over her arm.
C’est la chaleur,” I said, looking out into the sunny tops of
             the horse-chestnuts—and indeed it was very warm.

I stood for a long time so, looking out into the afternoon,
             thinking of the evening and you…

"The Fitting" by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Used by permission of The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society

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