"what to wear"

my poem “What to Wear” is up on the 32poems website, if you would like to read some of my newer work.

i wrote this poem in august, on the way back from a funeral for my friend’s stillborn daughter. i had been nervous about going to the funeral; here i was looking for pink balloons for my daughter’s first birthday while she looked for pink balloons for her daughter’s funeral.

i had never been to a funeral that wasn’t for someone elderly, and i wasn’t sure what that kind of grief would look like or how to be around it. so it was a lot easier to think instead about what is appropriate to wear on such an occasion than to think of those other things.

the poem came in bits in pieces mainly written in the car while we were traveling. i was thinking of Robert Pinsky’s “The Shirt” — i’m sure most people would see the obvious connection there — but wanting to write something more personal to me. writing poetry helps me to process complex emotions, and so i ended up writing several poems that month on this. i hope that readers will feel that, despite the sad subject matter, it ends on a note of hope–the “hidden-closure”


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