POETRY: Don’t take your dress to the tailor

Photo courtesy of Jeannie Tailor

The tailor shop’s bell tinkles in sync with the clicks of skinny heels

As clothe-toting visitors flood the fabric library, mouths working like pinwheels

Caught in a hurricane. “Hem this,” “Stretch this,” “Shrink this,” make me pretty,

Make me pretty, make me pretty.

What is pretty, when

Everyone is born with a dress, except that dress can never be shed, and

They tell you porcelain dresses are prettier than obsidian dresses, and

You carry to the mirror these Cliniqued beliefs like a knife to an oil-painted canvas

The hair-straightener a smoking torch to your intricate embroidery

Because her porcelain dress doesn’t have the naughty creases yours does, does she?

“Three thousand dollars.”

“Excuse me?”

The tailor opens his mouth again to restate the cost of the dress’s alterations.

He tastes silk as she shoves her dress into his face.

The cloth’s embrace swallows all light. What color was it? Do all dresses taste like silk?

Aren’t dresses supposed to be beautiful?

And yet, what are tailors if not weavers who take sewing needles to dresses

Like doctors who take botox needles to faces

Both weeping, because what put them on that table and on that seat

Was a beauty standard that by all standards was impossible to meet.

Outside the tailor shop, the pavement is cracked from the war over your garment

And who should have the honor of feeding you the poison you breathe each moment.

Get your quick fix in this eyeliner-shaped dopamine vial,

Or this cutesy cherry oxytocin bleach cream bottle

Or the serotonin eyeshadow palette in this aisle.

Every thread is judged, every hair is scrutinized,

Every speck is scrubbed, every scar is despised,

Every blemish is a failure,

So we take our dresses to the tailor.

Soondos Mulla-Osman is a junior Digital Innovation Film and Television and English double major. She is a staff writer for the Newswire from Cincinnati.