A New Dress

I don’t want a new dress, I said

My mother plucked from her mouth ninetynine pins.

I suppose there are plenty, she said, girls of ten

Who would be glad to have a new dress. 

Snip-snip. Snip-snip. The cold scissors

Ate quickly as my white rabbit round my arm.

She won’t speak to me if I have a new dress!

My feet rattled on the kitchen floor.

How can I fit you if you won’t stand still?

My tears made a map of Australia

On the sofa cushion, from the hot center

My friend’s eyes flashed, fierce as embers.

She would not speak to me, perhaps ever again.

She would paralyze me with one piercing look.

I’d rather have my friend than a new dress!

My mother wouldn’t understand, my grownup mother

Whose grasshopper thimble winked at the sun

And whose laughter was made by small waves

Rearranging seashells on Australia’s shore.

Ruth Dallas, New Zealand



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