Oops, one more

Just when I thought I was finished with this topic for the moment, I came across this poem in an old copy of Poetry East.

How Western Underwear Came to Japan

When Tokyo’s Shirokiya Drygoods caught fire
in the thirties, shopgirls tore the shelves’ kimonos
and knotted them in ropes. Older women used
both hands, descending safely from the highest floor,
though their underskirts flew up around their hips.

 

The crowded street saw everything beneath–
ankles, knees, the purple flanges of their sex.
Vesus the younger girls careful keeping
one hand pinned against their skirts, against
the nothing under them and their silk falling.

 

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