the bar suit
House of Dior, 1947
After the war, the wasp-waist returns:
silk civility a flag for romance, buttoned-up jacket
over pleated wool. Dior’s vision of “flower-like women”
is made an armor of glamour. Boning and yardage
dazzle even now, a study in minimalist color
styled with luxe hat and heels.
Who doesn’t love the regal, criminal feel
of leather gloves drawn past the wrists,
terrifying in their strictured elegance?
The year an editor crowns Dior’s collection
as the New Look, the Doomsday Clock debuts
on the cover of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
The hand aims seven minutes to midnight.
Inside meringue and black couture, the spleen
builds its own reactor. The future arrives in leonine
steps. The future pivots — all of us witness —
a magician’s wife home from the void
mouthing, it’s nothing, nothing.
Karen Rigby is the author of Chinoiserie (Ahsahta Press), which won the 2011 Sawtooth Poetry Prize. A 2007 National Endowment for the Arts literature fellow, her poems appear in Bennington Review, FIELD, jubilat, The London Magazine, and other journals. She lives in Arizona. Her website is www.karenrigby.com.