What do Women Want?
by Kim Addonizio
I want a red dress,
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what's underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their cafe, past the Gurerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I'm the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I'll pull that garment
from its hanger like I'm choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I'll wear it like bones, like skin,
it'll be the goddammned
dress they bury me in.
This is one of my favorite poems; it captures precisely the magic of owning and wearing a red dress. In my wardrobe I have quite a few red sweaters, shirts and tops which I pair with black pants and skirts, especially during the December holidays. But, I have only one red dress and I have worn that dress to only one event. There are many times that I think about my red dress and want to put it on, just to take out the garbage or to clean the house and maybe to wear to another big event in my life. But, I don't. I'm hoping that I will do so and not worry that it may show too much skin or be a dress designed for a woman half my age. I want 2008 to be a year when that glorious red dress and I march into the storm and are victorious.