Dress the Part

postage stamp taste
under my tongue
can erase and erase
but I only get one

I put my socks in the dishwasher
pour in too much soap
and leave it running
I pack a suitcase
full of legal pads and potato chips

I put a sign on the front door
inviting people to come in
strip down to their socks
and leaf through my drawers

Sometimes I wonder
about conversations with my dad
if I was born the boy
that buttons his prom suit in the bathroom mirror
I wonder about the beer he’d open for me

“Home” is written on a grocery store receipt
I erase it with the end of a waxy pencil
smudge so angrily
that it’s messier than it began

Would he crack the seal
with a horseshoe bottle opener
or with his teeth?
Would he tell me to play the sensitive card?
Would I be willing
to slap that one down?

I think I’m thankful for the body I spill from
I think I met myself on an off day
in any case, I’m spilling across the kitchen now
a single sock rises to the surface

The story I never tell
about the spider-fingered boy
is the day he wanted to switch clothes
I obeyed, as usual
pulled the folds of my black dress
over his cold, angry body
He never started the sentence
I was ready to finish

If you find a knife in my sock drawer
it wasn’t meant for you
these things get mixed up
when soap swirls in two separate machines

I only get one name
I only get one heart
so I’ll beat the game
and then dress the part

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