by Tara Powell

When there’s no time to do laundry,
from the back of the drawer comes
a green nightgown, folded and forgotten
these two fast-flown years
while she’s fallen in love,
received her degree, fallen out
again and become quieter,
and yet still the gold embroidery
on the hem is fine-stitched
and still it clings smoothly
on the shadowy peach figure
of a spare, angular woman
who catches herself staring into a mirror
and looking vaguely familiar, like myself–
and still, there’s that powder and Chanel
scent of Grandmother, the same essence
that clambered out of her bureau
that early spring morning
of that long, unsleeping weekend,
her things spread all around us
on the bed, floor, chest…
and me: “Nothing, Mama,
nothing. I couldn’t wear it,”
and she, pressing dress after dress
into my arms,
a manic, desperate dance
of something-to-do.

Tara Powell is the Hugh McColl Fellow in Southern Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is a Ph.D. candidate in English.  Some of the publications in which her poetry has appeared include Asheville Poetry Review, Blue Unicorn, Cold Mountain Review, Crucible, Hidden Oak, Pembroke Magazine, South Carolina Review, and Southern Poetry Review.  She wrote a monthly column for the Raleigh News and Observer from February 2001 to August 2002, edited The Carolina Quarterly from May 2002 to August 2003, and has read her creative work by invitation at a variety of conferences.

Tara Powell was nominated for Poets Under 30 by Michael McFee.