“I Wore This Dress Today for You, Mom” by Kim Dower

Kim Dower


breezy floral, dancing with color
soft, silky, flows as I walk
Easter Sunday and you always liked

to get dressed, go for brunch, “maybe
there’s a good movie playing somewhere?”
Wrong religion, we were not church-goers,

but New Yorkers who understood the value
of a parade down 5th Avenue, bonnets
in lavender, powder blues, pinks, hues

of spring, the hope it would bring.
We had no religion but we did have
noodle kugel, grandparents, dads

who could fix fans, reach the china
on the top shelf, carve the turkey.
That time has passed. You were the last

to go, mom, and I still feel bad I never
got dressed up for you like you wanted me to.
I had things, things to do. But today in L.A.— 

hot the way you liked it—those little birds
you loved to see flitting from tree to tree—
just saw one, a twig in its mouth, preparing 

a bed for its baby—might still be an egg,
I wish you were here. I’ve got a closet filled
with dresses I need to show you. 

from Rattle #48, Summer 2015
Tribute to New Yorkers

[download audio]


Kim Dower: “I grew up on the upper west side of Manhattan—89th off Broadway—in ‘The Party Cake Building,’ apartment 6D, when NYC was still a place for middle class families, not just a city for the rich. I was the handball champion of the street, Benny’s hotdog stand and the New Yorker Bookstore on one side, Murray the Sturgeon King around the corner, rode my bike through Riverside Drive when I was ten (no helmets back then), went to the first ‘Be-In’ in Central Park. Though I’ve lived in Los Angeles for decades, my memories of New York sounds, smells, tastes, people, adventures continue to influence my poems. When I was a little girl I thought that only ‘TV families’ lived in houses. I never knew anyone with a yard, a ‘den,’ or a basement.” (website)

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