- My Grandmother's Housecoat
No one else's arms could fill these sleeves, no othershoulders, broad as a mule driver's shouting gee and hawall day to the factory buttonholer, the workhorseof her body circling home to this tufted chenille.Housecoat, she would say, not robe, word of the middleclass whose dim surface her piecemeal life barely rippled.Coral rosettes swirled down the front belied her scuffleto light the flame at five, doors shut to unheated rooms,her chug to the bus stop. I've clocked my time, hunchedat a desk in violet fluorescence—but I've not spun the samenessof men's shirts in a hurricane of lint and bobbins, makingproduction under a foreman's squint. I've not bowed tothe unraveling of missed stitches, stuck gearbox and pulley,docked pay. In my closet, years after her death, robe shapeshiftsto housecoat hung loose before the whistle blast, beforeshe slips inside. Sometimes I sink into its rag batting, dwarfedby cuffs and waist. I drape myself in its weary embrace,used Kleenex still balled in the pocket. [End Page 106]
Linda Parsons Marion of Knoxville works as an editor at the University of Tennessee and was poetry editor for Now & Then for fourteen years. Her third poetry collection, Bound, was published by Wind this year.