434: For the Woman on Main Street Stopping to Pull Up Her Pantyhose

434: For the Woman on Main Street Stopping to Pull Up Her Pantyhose

434: For the Woman on Main Street Stopping to Pull Up Her Pantyhose

For the Woman on Main Street Stopping to Pull Up Her Pantyhose
by Kristene Kaye Brown

I too have had my hands full of what keeps me

contained, a vastness softened	   by restraint

and made more terrible

because of it. 			I think it’s time we talk 

about the safety of distance,

how the tire tread of rush hour traffic

sounds like something being patiently worn down,

how the cars parked along the street

never seem to come or go, but are just here

or not. Some days, I am just here or not. Like you,

I am more patient when I am still.

Trying to fasten it all in, 

like the daughters before us whittling their waists

with whale bones. A quickened zero

shrinking to less. 	       Like you,

I have made myself a smaller shadow, 

built my absence  out of air. I watch

as you arrange your body

into a more presentable frame, hands fumbling

against that embrace

without compromise, nails snagging a run,

nails with their many moons

below. I recognize the tiny flame of your struggle.

Your eyes so sudden and near.

Your eyes meeting mine. What do you see?

The same?

Clouds languish overhead like a phantom steam

we cannot touch. Forgive me.

Like you, 			     I turn away,

squinting into the sun, into the thin light

that moves above	     and holds us here.

"For the Woman on Main Street Stopping to Pull Up Her Pantyhose," by Kristene Kaye Brown. Used by permission of the poet.