[Tea Dress (1895)]
The Dress-Up Box
She twirled in front of the mirror admiring
the beautiful velvet dress with its swirling skirt
made by Great Aunty Pat with material
from her quilting box.
Glorious sterling silver chains, and pearls
dripped from her slender neck
just as they had from Grandma Joyce’s
60 years ago.
She clacked across the floor in black high heels
which she’d coveted forever
from her mother’s wardrobe.
As she spun into the lounge she was met with
a smile of approval from her father and
a tear of
from her mother.
That day seemed so long ago.
Arriving at the ball as a princess and
leaving as the Ugly Sister.
Fleeing the pitying eyes of the popular boys
and the snickers of the pretty girls
with their rouged cheeks
and lips outlined in dark red pencil
whose shop-bought dresses floated
elegantly from their mannequin bodies.
She’d never told her family how she’d felt that night
But when she remembered that
she suspected her mother knew.
- Sarah-Jane Holton