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Fashion Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Robert Sward

                  "Marriage and hanging go by destiny."
                             —Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy


Her fruity, floral fragrance—
Honey at her dressing table
     like a pilot in the cockpit,
a woman in control, old TV Guides, catalogs,
ordering information
     for all the major scents and potions
beside her.
She once wore, how can I describe them:
back-of-the-refrigerator avocado green
     and white
Keith Partridge bell bottoms. Bizarre she was
and incandescent. Dutiful husband,
no less bizarre, I wore purple velveteen pants
and a tie-dyed shirt.
Her old lover Warren was there with his pimp suit,
     giant bug-eye sunglasses
and huge fake fur pimp hat,
a party with vintage Joan Crawford movies,
Honey wearing Number 5
     by Chanel, the first synthetic scent.
And me, her consort, I wore
 'a blend of crisp citrus and warm spice, mossy woods, a scent
for the feeling man.'
I remember Honey's silver and turquoise earrings
on the make-up table
as the bed jumped and jerked
those first two years.
Ravi Shankar, Thai weed, and a little homegrown,
that velvet ribbon choker with butterflies
and the scent of her, as she,
O, yummy, yummy,
O, yess, yess, yummy,
Honey's tooled leather belt on the floor.
Then, "Tell me what you want," I said.
"You can't give me what I want."
"What do you want?"
"I'm out of style and so are you.
I want to lose weight."
And like that it was over.
"How about this handbag?" said Cosmo,
"the perfect accessory
to the outfit you wear
when you leave your husband."
And that's how it ended. Honey at some fashion show
throwing back her head, the spotlight playing
on her face and neck.
Yes, I could see what Honey wanted and why,
to shop where she'd never shopped before,
to pull on high leather boots
and a mini-skirt; then, beaded Navaho handbag in hand,
flashing a little scented thigh, walking out on someone
who couldn't keep up,
a jerk who wore tie-dye.
I loved the woman, longed to stay with her and,
to do so, if I could have, arm-in-arm with her,
I'd have walked out on myself
and become someone altogether new.

Robert Sward's works copyright © to the author.

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