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After Stuart Davis' 'Ready to Wear' 1955


Cynthia Gallaher

we’re good at making

something from nothing,

laying ideas on tables,

working in primaries like children,

while somehow group efforts urge

pastiches of opposing bias.


stripes wave into jazzy

ribbons of syncopation,

stars dart toward black holes,

patterns are no longer uniform

and fragments of old glory

fit ever-changing models.


using scissors, thread,

presser foot and ingenuity,

we piece together bodices of industry,

sew languid sleeves that drift

like weathered leaves through water,

zip catches of years of frenetic aggression,

let out waistbands from overindulgence,


craft new American identities

from designer to knock-off,

immediate and ready to wear.

Cynthia Gallaher, a Chicago USA-based poet, is author of four poetry collections, many with themes, including Epicurean Ecstasy: More Poems About Food, Drink, Herbs and Spices, and three chapbooks, including Drenched. Her nonfiction/memoir/creativity guide Frugal Poets’ Guide to Life: How to Live a Poetic Life, Even If You Aren’t a Poet won a National Indie Excellence Award. She was recently selected to be the final judge for the 2022 Prairie State Poetry Prize.

Cynthia Gallaher
Cynthia Gallaher
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