The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “All in the Family” by Courtney LeBlanc

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“Secondhand Love”

She wore the green dress,
a secondhand costume of love,

a little tighter on her than it’d been
on me the year before.

My dress was pink and swam
on my narrow frame, an invisible

donation from a family friend.
We built pillow forts

with afghans our mother
and aunt crocheted with tired hands,

made tree limbs our monkey bars,
ran in wide arcs of tag through the yard,

went to the library and checked out the max
number of books to fuel our adventures.

We played till our bellies rumbled for knoephla soup
and the sun started to dip in the sky,

our father in the fields the whole time,
his skin baking in the sun like the mud pies

we made, baking like the bread
my mother kneaded – enough to feed six.

With gap-toothed grins we
presented dandelion bouquets

before washing up and sitting down
at the table, repeating the same prayer –

Come Lord Jesus be our guest
and let this food to us be blessed, amen
.

Every Sunday brought church, dressed
in last year’s clothes, clean and close to God.

My sister and I sat side by side,
scuffed patent leather Mary Janes

swinging beneath the pews,
keeping quiet and humming hymns,

playing cat’s cradle till we broke
the yarn, then pulling

an imaginary string
from each other’s hand.


This selection comes from the poetry collection All in the Family, available from Bottlecap Press. Order your copy here.

Courtney LeBlanc is the author of chapbooks Siamese Sisters and All in the Family (Bottlecap Press). She is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Public Pool, Rising Phoenix ReviewThe LegendaryGerm MagazineQuail Bell Magazine, Brain Mill Press, and others. She loves nail polish, wine, and tattoos. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, or find her on Facebook.

Twitter: @wordperv

Beth Couture‘s work can be found in a number of journals and anthologies, including Gargoyle, Drunken Boat, The Southeast Review, Ragazine, and Thirty Under Thirty from Starcherone Books. Her novella, Women Born with Fur, was published by Jaded Ibis Press in 2014 as part of its Blue Bustard Novellas series. She graduates with her Master’s in Social Work at Bryn Mawr College in May, and she lives in West Philly with her husband and five cats.

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