Chore Dress

Jessica Abughattas

My chore dress looks good on me.

A dab of detergent will get anything out

and this is the scam of therapy.

My con artist calls to confirm my appointment.

She wants my $185 which I could use

to pay the government.

I really ought to cut down

that twin elm rising out of the hedge.

The drought is in a second year.

The houseboats can touch their feet

to the bottom.

Your doctorate and zen water feature

are meaningless to me.

I will think of this ink

stain the rest of my life.

Tonight’s the summer solstice.

The air conditioner cannot keep up.

Finally, you must understand I’m being coy.

Everything is

a rejuvenation or a bill

in a sterling silver envelope

known as white oppressive paper.

To be dirty is not so bad.

I wouldn’t mind getting paint on this dress.

I wouldn’t mind at all if I had a dress, a durable

and well-made item that suits me

and is suitable to stain.

Jessica Abughattas is the author of Strip, winner of the 2020 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize selected by Fady Joudah and Hayan Charara. Her poems have appeared recently in Guernica, Thrush Poetry Journal, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Originally published:
July 26, 2023

Featured

Rachel Cusk

The novelist on the “feminine non-state of non-being”
Merve Emre

Books

Renaissance Women

A new book celebrates—and sells short—Shakespeare’s sisters
Catherine Nicholson

Fady Joudah

The poet on how the war in Gaza changed his work
Aria Aber

Subscribe

New perspectives, enduring writing. Join a conversation 200 years in the making. Subscribe to our print journal and receive four beautiful issues per year.
Subscribe