I come alive at the opening click or close of a metal clasp.
And sometimes, unexpectedly, a faux crocodile handle makes me
Breathy clearing of throat, a smooth arm, heels on pavement, she
lingers, sound tattoos.
I go to the thrift store to feel for bobby pins caught in the pocket
of a camel hair coat.
I hinge a satin handbag in the crease of my arm. I buy a little
change purse with its curled and fitted snap.
My mother bought this for me. This was my mother’s.
I buy and then I buy and then, another day, I buy something else.
In Paris she had a dog, Bijou, and when they fled Paris in 1942
they left the dog behind.
When my mother died on February 9, 1983, she left me.
Now, thirty years later and I am exactly her age.
I tell my husband I will probably die by the end of today and all day he says, Are you getting close, Sweetheart? And late in the afternoon, he asks if he should buy enough filet of sole for two.
From a blue velvet clutch I take out a mirror and behold my lips in
the small rectangle.
Put on something nice. Let him splurge and take you out for
dinner, my mother whispers on the glass.
Victoria Redel is the author of three books of poetry, the most recent of which isWoman Without Umbrella(Four Way Books, 2012). She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. She also currently serves as vice president of PEN America.
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