face to face 1940

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: April 12, 2016

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Submitted: April 12, 2016



I've been washed,
and dried, now
the nurse says, do
you want to try the

dress on Mr Kimberly
bought you, Grace?
I look to where her
voice comes from,

my blind eyes searching
through blackness.
What colour is it? I ask.
It's red and beautiful,

she says, don't know where
he bought it, but it must
have cost quite a number
of coupons in this day

and age, with a war on,
and such. Will it fit me?
I ask, wondering how
Philip had managed to

find out my size. Best
way to find out is to try
it on, the nurse says excitedly,
as if the dress was for her

to wear. Now, you mean?
I haven't worn a dress since
the night my house was
bombed by the Germans,

I say. All my belongings
went up, and were lost in
the explosion, including
my eyesight, and my legs.

I'll help you of course,
she says, I'll pull the curtains
around to give you privacy.
I am uncertain, I feel as if

I will always be stuck in a
night dress without underwear,
two leg stumps bandaged forever.
I hear her pull the curtains

around us. Lift your arms,
Grace, let's get the nightie off,
then we can try on the dress,
the nurse says. I lift my arms,

she lifts the nightdress off of
me, and I feel quite naked,
and exposed. I put my arms
over my breasts like a young girl.

There's only me here, Grace,
the nurse says, no need to feel
bashful, now raise your arms
again so I can put the dress over

your head, and get your arms
through the holes. I lift my arms
up again, and sense her put
my hands through the arm holes

of the dress, then over my
head; she pulls it down over
my body, then she says, lie down
while I pull it over your bottom,

and down over your stumps. I lie
down, and let my head rest on
the pillow as she pulls the dress
over my bottom, and down over

the stumps of my legs. There, it
fits fine, she says, smoothing it
down with her hands, pushing
out creases or whatever. I feel

dressed for the first time in ages.
Have I underwear? I ask. Yes,
Mr Kimberly bought those as well,
the nurse says laughing softly.

How did he know my size? I ask.
He asked us nurses a few weeks
ago, when he said about taking
you out to dinner, the nurse says.

I see, I say, wondering what else
he asked, and why, and not really
caring, but curious nonetheless.
You look a picture of beauty,

Grace, she says. But where is he,
I need him here now, face to face.

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