30 July 2010 | Vol. 10, No. 2



Bottom hemmed. Sleeves shortened.

Before leaving the shop,

                        my mother waves

the tailor back, asks

for the remaining fabric

after the alterations.

I never bought a dress

this expensive.

I want to keep it all.


Turquoise with decorative pearls,

                        picture tropical

                        oceans & mussels

infected, the dress my mother wore

to my wedding, later

                                    to her funeral.


I danced with my mother's head


            near my chest.

My father drifts,         buoyant

with champagne, me his youngest

dancing in a white tuxedo—foam

overwhelmed by the water

of its creation.

About the author:

Michael Schmeltzer earned an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. He helps manage A River & Sound Review and is a two-time nominee of the Pushcart Prize. His work appears or is forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Los Angeles Review, Water~Stone Review, Main Street Rag, Crab Creek Review, and Fourteen Hills, among others. He lives in Seattle with his family.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Michael Schmeltzer at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 10, No. 2, where "Alterations" ran on July 30, 2010. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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