Leave it in the closet,
my sister said.

She draped it on the floor
covering the socks and shoes,
and frowned, and I
could see why:

The disease of it was growing.

And it continued to grow

all through breakfast
and into Cimmerian,

until, around it, the floorboards, the walls
were no longer there, as if

the blue eyelet cotton
had swallowed the house (her

no-place, shapeless space with nothing
but a car ride, nothing whole, nothing

wanting to dance, or drink, or sleep – no

storms, no sight, no fingernails, no voice) as if

he was an incubus,
not a chokehold,

twining around Slavic letters that settle
in deep grooves:

the cut off bra,
the cut-off jeans,
the cut out tissue
on the front of your thighs
and the backs of your hands

cut away some more,
just a little bit more

until these strands
speak and eat –

they steal oatmeal right off your plate –

they are a she, and she wants your name,
your rapist’s name;

wants to drink well water
from your birth town,

holding a child resembling
the one you think you had,

but the more hairs she plucks
off your scalp,

the less you resist
when she takes your heirlooms

and sells them on the sidewalk
for money to buy a new dress.

Lana Rakhman is currently completing her MFA at Northwestern University. She has assistant taught creative writing courses at Roosevelt University, and assistant edits the literary journal TriQuarterly. She was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and does not know how to ride a bike.

Torn Dress [after Laura Kasiscke’s New Dress (2)]
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