What the Girl Wore

Kathleen Driskell Click to

driskellKathleen Driskell’s most recent book of poems Seed Across Snow (Red Hen, 2009) was listed as a national best seller by the Poetry Foundation.  Her poems have most recently appeared in Rattle, River Styx and Pembroke Magazine.  She is Professor of Creative Writing at Spalding University in Louisville, KY, where she helps direct the low-residency MFA in Writing program.


At the store, on the hanger, the blue dress must have fallen
like water to a froth of frilled hem, its bodice as smocked
as a christening gown. A season out of date, her mother chose it
from our local department store chiefly for the high collar,
but I knew it was a dress Lisa wouldn’t have been caught
dead in. Just hidden under the neckband of lace, the circle
of her purple necklace, each dark bead a fingertip of efficient
bruise that we already knew about anyway, and simply went on
imagining, as we, her classmates, filed past the white coffin.


4 Responses to What the Girl Wore

  1. Kiki Martire says:

    This is a poem that masters both immense darkness and surprise. I can see why Poetry Daily also chose to feature it over the coming week. It is a perfect example of letting vivid description and imagery lead in a poem, rather than drama or the emotion. This garners greater impact at the end when the subject is revealed. For a short, simple poem, it packs a macabre punch that is rather poignant for the Noir issue.

  2. Stephen Gibson says:

    I agree. It’s a terrific piece.

  3. hammerm16 says:

    This poem is incredible. The amount of power in this single stanza is extraordinary.
    The title foreshadows a very different scene than a funeral, but the beads as “a fingertip of efficient bruise that we already knew about anyway” carries both – as Kiki describes it – “darkness” and a sense of mystery in the children’s familiarity with the sight.

    This is the kind of poem that leaves you both breathless and gasping for more.

  4. Pingback: A publishing strategy for your first poetry collection - Spalding University MFA in Writing BlogSpalding University MFA in Writing Blog

Comments are closed.