The Dress

By | 1 December 2013
Not white, but close;
a spiral of soap in water
the colour of teeth.
Yours had a gap.

We waited
for a gap in the
Not silence, but close;
breath teasing heat
from our mouths
until our feet

The soft ripple of silk
in the night
not white, but close,
and then away
chasing breath
into the light.

Mother’s fingers
clever and soft,
supple as warm
wax against skin,
tight through mine,
spun stiches up my sides,
thin as the strands
of her hair
not white, but close.

In the photo:
the dress
smooth as milk and
the gap between
your teeth

Gunda Klavins’ mother stitched her daughter’s wedding dress from US Army parachute silk. The dress is simple, its story is not. Gunda lost her childhood and older brother to the war. In 1947, in what was left of her hometown of Nuremburg, she finally had her fairy-tale wedding complete with ‘white horse and carriage.’ Then in 1950 she moved to Australia with her Latvian husband Wili and two young children. For Gunda, the dress is many happy memories; for me, it’s the happy-ever-after that some souls can spin from the most unlikely of silks.

Return to Story Circle: The Transnational Story Hub and the Inspiraciones Literarias, a chapbook curated by Merlinda Bobis.

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