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issue 17: march - april 2000 

author's bio | spanish translation | catalan

The Skirt
by Marjorie Kanter Delgado



I don't usually buy synthetic.

Chapter 1: The Event

I found this skirt
at my favorite discount shopping place.....
.....a long black skirt full of narrow pleats.
I liked it a lot.
I wore it a lot.
It went anyplace anywhere with anything.
It felt comfortable.
It felt art(s)y.
Let's just say I felt good in it.
Then one day it rained.
I wore it out.
I got wet.
The skirt got wet
(and) all the pleats came out.
I should have known.
The ticket said, "Do not wash! Dry clean only!"

Chapter 2: Dissatisfaction

I wanted my skirt put back.
I didn't like its new appearance, its new feel.

Chapter 3: Dependence..........El tinte

I went to see if they could help me at the cleaners.
(There) I told my story.
The attendant said he could put it back.....reconstruct
my deconstructed most favored skirt.
He said, "The solution is to iron it pleat by pleat."
He performed a test run. A trial.
To see if he could do it. To calculate the price.
I watched as he pressed a small row.
I could see it was a lot of work.
I could hear that hot steam.
Not a fun job.
(When) he finished
he told me the calculated price.
Certainly worth his efforts.
(But) to me it was a lot. An expensive experiment.
(Still) a bargain.....cheap in labor, cheap in effort.
I'd say to him it really wasn't worth it.
If I were him I wouldn't do it, I’d say, "Sorry lady, I can’t do it."
I said, " I'll think about it.
Thank you for being so nice and helpful
but I don't know you see if the skirt is really worth the expense.
Maybe I should just get rid of it.
Maybe I should just get a new one.
Thank you. Thank you for being so nice."

Chapter 4: Indecision

To spend the money or not to spend the money.
To dry clean or not to dry clean.

Chapter 5: A decision

I decided it wasn't worth spending the money.
What if I got caught in a surprise attack rain storm again?
Chapter 6: Independence..........El lavado, la reconstitución
It occurred to me to wash the whole thing and see what would happen.
No loss since I didn't like the current status of more skirt than me
and no pleats.
I washed it carefully
by hand
and in cold water
with cold water soap.
I laid it out
in a straight and narrow line.....the pleats all pushed together over a towel.
I watched it, la vigilé.
I changed the towel several times.
It took days to dry. But finally it (did) it (had).
All the pleats returned magically and perfectly.
It was again lined up in neat little rows of pleats.
Just like new.
No pressing needed. No outside help.
Magically it had gone back to its original set shape .
I thought aren't I clever (and) I deemed it ready for wear.

Chapter 7: Prudence..........a bit of caution

The next day I was getting ready to go out
(when) it clouded up.
It looked like rain.
I wondered whether to wear my rejuvenated skirt or not.
I thought, well if it gets wet I can just wash it
and fix it again.
(but) what if this time it doesn't fix so easily? (I thought).
I didn't wear it.
I put it aside for a guaranteed dry day.

Chapter 8: Impermanence..........the let down

The right day came.
I checked the sky.
I checked the weather report.
All signs pointed to a dry day.
I got out my skirt and put it on.
I stepped outside.
I felt good in my skirt and pleased with myself
but then
I tripped going down the stairs.
I looked down.
The skirt had grown. It was getting longer. It seemed to be growing.
I rolled it at the waist once and continued on.
It seemed OK.
Soon (again) I tripped on this long growing skirt.
A little later I again felt myself caught in a fabric pull.
I looked down.
It had again grown.
I checked my waist.
The roll was still there, so I rolled it a second turn.
A little later I was again getting caught in this growing synthetic mass.
The skirt grew and grew.
I rolled and rolled.
I had become a funny uncomfortable sight.

Chapter 9: Persistence..........trying hard to find a solution

I thought I can wash it again.
The pleats go in easily.
What I need is a solution for permanence.
What if I spray it with hair spray?
What a mess if that got wet!
I could wear it as it had become and start a new fashion.
I could get myself a pair of stilts.

Chapter 10: Separation..........up for adoption

I gave it away.
I decided that
Perhaps someone else might love it as it has become and really need it too.
Perhaps a long tall long lady will claim it.
What wasn't useful to me might be useful to someone else.
I interviewed potential owners.
One lady called and asked, "Is it a long skirt?"
I answered, "Well, it depends on how tall you are and what kinds of shoes you wear and if it has stopped growing or not."


Perhaps it could clothe the world in its growing lengths 

© 2000 Marjorie Kanter Delgado

This poem may not be archived or distributed further without the author's express permission. Please see our conditions of use.

Margie Kanter Delgadoauthor's bio

Marjorie Kanter Delgado (born 1943, Cincinnati, Ohio) currently lives in Madrid, Spain. Her writings are culled from her journals of the past 14 years during which time she has lived and travelled in Madrid, Southern Spain, the Dominican Republic, Morocco and the United States. She is currently preparing a collection of poem pieces entitled, I Displace the Air as I Walk. Contact the author at:mkd@grupointercom.com

navigation:                         barcelona review #17                     March - April 2000
-Fiction Rachel Resnick The Meat-Eaters of Marrakesh
Josh Wardrip Death in the Third Person
Alden Jones Shelter
Matthew Tree
Summer of Love
Marjorie Kanter Delgado The Skirt
-Interview Matthew Tree
-Article March and April in Barcelona
-Quiz Jorge Luis Borges
Answers to Federico García Lorca quiz
-Regular Features Book Reviews
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