Vintage Clothing Tips

Valerie Loveland
I ruined / history with my broad shoulders.

The world is filthy, so I am careful where I lean,
who I let hold me. Only cold water removes
blood. These clothes watched from the closet
while I was being born. Some even watched

my parents being born. Thank you, Pack
Rats. Thank you, houses with walk-in
closets. Thank you, compulsive shoppers.
Thank you, under arm shields.

The woman who sold me a 1940's dress
warned me to be careful—I bought a piece
of history— but I had to try it on. I ruined
history with my broad shoulders. Fabric chokes

when stored in plastic bags. Clothes commit
suicide on wire hangers. Moths are after my wool.
I leave out a more delicious outfit, a decoy.
I lure them with a poisoned sweater. I suspect

the best shop constructed a time machine. When I ask
directly, they squirm. There is no other explanation
for a 1920's party dress glittering blue like a waterfall,
every rhinestone water droplet still sewn into place.

Valerie Loveland is the author of Reanimated, Somehow. Her poetry is included in Best of the Web 2008 and was featured at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. She is a regular at poetry events around Boston and Cambridge. She works as an optician in Acton, Massachusetts.