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[Readings]

Ode to a Man in Dress Clothes

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By Gretchen Marquette, published in the Summer issue of The Paris Review. Marquette lives and works in Minneapolis.

When I see a man
in a dress shirt, I want
to walk up behind him,
place my hand
between his shoulders,
to rest it there
for a moment. I think
about his socks, how
he chose one pair
that morning and the rest
are still at home
in a drawer.
And his shoes —
god those shoes, they break me,
especially when they’re polished, what
does he do to make them shine
like that, yes, all it takes
is a pair of shiny black shoes and such
a wave of tenderness
collapses over me that I see
his ties, at rest
on their little carousel, imagine
that he held them up
in the mirror
at the department store,
unsure.


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August 2013