By Lucinda Trew
My mother’s going-out skirt comes out of its dry cleaner bag on celebratory nights – a reunion of friends, shrimp cocktail at the Hickory House, New Year’s revelry. It is 1970s-bold, a maxi quilt of poppy blooms, the tangerine of Herb Alpert’s horn, loopy green stems, flowers framing mascaraed eyes, shiny black buttons from waist to hem. She stands at the bathroom mirror humming, teasing her hair, kissing folded corners of toilet paper that I catch before they land, wispy valentines stained with Revlon’s Fire and Ice. The skirt is a bell I want to dwell within like a Russian doll or a stow-away sailor. It is a lamp of stained glass, pinpricks of light glowing from stitch lines, a bell jar that would keep me close and tucked away. I want to sway into the evening with her, hear the giddy laughter, octaves apart from her kitchen table laugh, run my hands over the silk of her stockinged legs, dance between her and my father to their song that must too be my song that must too be our song. I will myself awake, wait to hear tires on gravel, shushing and giggling, the lean against the banister and kicking off of shoes. I will myself awake, wait for her to peek into dark rooms, pull up bed covers, lay a hand scented with Jean Nate and Jergens, with going out and coming home, against pillow-pressed cheeks.
Lucinda Trew’s writing has appeared in The Fredricksburg Literary and Art Review, The Poet, Cathexis Northwest Press, The Bangor Literary Journal, San Pedro River Review, Kakalak, Mockingheart Review, Flying South and other journals. She is a recipient of a 2021 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition honorable mention, a 2020 Kakalak Poetry Award, a 2019 North Carolina Poetry Society Award, and was named a 2020 North Carolina Poetry Society poet laureate award finalist. She lives and writes in Union County, N.C.