I Want to Wear a Dress with Lemons All Over It by F.C. Malby – Sledgehammer Lit Mag

“Ready for war but not yet called up, fuelled on coffee and vodka with a lick of cynicism and delayed hope.”

My poem, I Want to Wear a Dress with Lemons All Over It, has been published in Sledgehammer Lit Mag. It was inspired by a photograph of a dress that Jill Biden wore, along with an ensuing conversation on Twitter about said dress. As a writer, I questioned why it had caused such a stir, especially because I’m not keen on the media focus on what women wear, so I played with the idea that it was the boldness of the colour and the print…

“the brazen cheer of it, the rebelliousness with which is stands out against the grey and drudge of news bulletins.”

And there began my poem….

“Somewhere there must be a place for a dress with lemons all over it, if not here, then there.

I want to wear a dress with lemons all over it,

a bright yellow citrus burst of colour like the

pansies in the garden. The brazen cheer of it,

the rebelliousness with which it stands out

against the grey and drudge of news bulletins

and long faces, people in their houses, locked

away with slippers, computers fixed to bodies

like combat clothing. Ready for war but not yet

called up, fuelled on coffee and vodka with a lick

of cynicism and delayed hope. The blackbird sings,

establishes itself as the Beethoven among birds,

competes with the Woodlark, Thrush, Skylark and

Robin. Song that pierces the dawn, punctuating

thoughts of another day, another unsent email

dishes rising in dank sinks, laundry spills

out of baskets waiting to be slipped against

flesh or folded and stacked, but the only things

folding in these times are dreams and jobs. Doors

close as we wait for a window to chink open.

Somewhere there must be a place for a dress

with lemons all over it, if not here, then there.

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