What She Was Wearing

What She Was Wearing
Denver Butson

this is my suicide dress
she told him
I only wear it on days
when I’m afraid
I might kill myself
if I don’t wear it

you’ve been wearing it
every day since we met

he said

and these are my arson gloves

so you don’t set fire to something?
he asked


and this is my terrorism lipstick
my assault and battery eyeliner
my armed robbery boots

I’d like to undress you he said
but would that make me an accomplice?

and today she said I’m wearing
my infidelity underwear
so don’t get any ideas

and she put on her nervous breakdown hat
and walked out the door


3 thoughts on “What She Was Wearing

  1. Of all the poems you’ve posted, this has to be one of my favorites. The metaphors are surface enough so that they’re easy-to-follow as well as the usual more hidden poetic ones for more “advanced” poetry readers.

  2. The surface metaphors are obvious to me, but not so sure about the deeper ones. Can you give me your take on this poem? I heard it on NPR.

  3. I think it is ultimately a poem about gender in heterosexual relationships. But I like it not for that at all, but for the richness of the image and the humor. And I do love the idea of clothing being something we wear to keep ourselves from setting something on fire, committing a crime, or having a nervous breakdown.

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