Good dancing-girls wear grass skirts, I was led to believe. My skirt is made of solid lead.
They stare dully at my skirt, my unflappable skirt, the old men who are too ill to rise from bed:
once, I heard one wizened Welshman grumble, “If fashion’s come to this, I may as well be dead.”
In these subterranean caves, we are all clothed with sheets of metal; with barium salts, we’re fed.
As a child, I looped one end of a rope around my waist and, with it, towed uphill a snow-caked sled;
now my hips are sore from the weight of . . . what? The adult responsibilities that plague my tired head?
I hide behind my skirt, the way that we as kissing teens hid behind your father’s fox-infested shed.
Jenna Le is the author ofSix Rivers(New York Quarterly Books, 2011), which was an SPD Poetry Bestseller. Her poems and translations have been published byBarrow Street, The Brooklyn Rail, Post Road, Salamander, and Sycamore Review. (3/2012)