Those old things crammed in corners
shouted their accusations;
pant legs dangled on hangers,
sweaters swallowed shelves, self-righteous
in their refusal to fit, obstinate
in not giving an inch or half:
black and white capris
checkered like a raceway flag
white no-iron Oxford button-ups
Catholic school-girl stiff and prim
tees that whined about the stretch,
bras and belts that wouldn’t hook.
I loved how I once looked in them:
Friday casual, chic couture—
many faces of Eve in threaded cottons
silks and linen, polyester blends.
I may not have shed myself as intended
but I slipped the skin of chameleons
sloughed the waist of conformity,
lost the buttons of silence.
New clothes hang in this girl’s closet,
and she can breath inside their elastic bands.
Janet Reed is a recent winner in Common Ground Review’s 2017 poetry contest. She is a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has been published or is forthcoming in Chiron Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Avalon Poetry Journal, I-70 Review and many others. She teaches writing and literature for Crowder College in Missouri, and earned her graduate degree in English, Literature emphasis from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.