This poem is a shout out to my dear friend, Marla!
When My Friend Asked if Her Blouse Was Too “Cruise-shippy”
I could see where she was coming from,
the turquoise swirls against white fabric
did mimic the movement of the sea,
the low neckline with silver beading
drew attention to the face
while the mid-section was cut A-line
and could accommodate a midnight buffet.
She had a whole suitcase full of such garments,
I’d raved about them all week,
one in ivory silk with black embroidery
that grazed below her buttocks
and conjured a walking tour in the south of Spain,
another in floral periwinkle and kelly green
that made me want to fetch her an English garden.
The last fabric frolic was an Indian print of purples and creams
that reminded me of the ceramic artist,
Beatrice Potter, who at eighty began wearing
saris with bangles and at age one hundred
posed fetchingly in her studio.
Gone were my friend’s safe black t-shirts,
the dark and drab colors.
She shows me her spoils after a phone call
from her distraught son, a freshman at college
who has accidentally killed his pricey computer
by spilling agave nectar on it,
she coaches him to take the bus to Sacramento
to have it looked at,
when she returns home she will
juggle her massage business where she stands
on her feet for hours with caring for her other son,
a water polo player who needs a ride to the pool
every morning at six.
I want her to take it one step further,
feel she deserves slippers with little puffs of pink feathers,
when she needs reading glasses
want her to wear them on a sparkly beaded chain.
I want her to wear only kimonos around the house,
to continue to adorn her beautiful being,
which reminds me of the laughter around a table
set with a feast at sunset in an olive grove.
I tell her the blouse is fabulous
and hope this is only the beginning,
that she never again considers convention
or criticism to fit in or be stylish,
that she embraces a carousel of color and comfort.
I hope, she, at fifty-one
(and really everyone, at every age)
feels there is always a salsa class
happening on the lido deck,
that every afternoon offers
a fruity drink with a paper umbrella,
may she always have a warm arm around her
while she watches the sunrise in cool air
and forever the possibility of dolphins.
Forever forward, may she boldly bodily cruise.