Marianne is my bartender,
only the bar is a counter
in her consignment shop.
I arrive with no time,
tell her what it is I have not
been able to find. Summer clothes
with sleeves—and she agrees that all
the new dresses are designed with younger
women in mind. I tell her that I am nervous
about next week’s workshop, how amazing all
the teachers are. She laughs—If you didn’t have
anything to learn, we wouldn’t be spending all
that money on you to go there, now would we?
She slays me with the word “we.”
When other women arrive
in the bedroom- sized shop, strangers
become sisters, soliciting and dishing
advice. Marianne laughs, her eyebrows-up,
wide Irish laugh, I love my job, she says. She
says that often. As she gathers and transposes
our clothes, I wonder, does she know— that we
come here for her? For her wisdom and care?
Marianne might reveal some history—
Oh, that dress just came in today,
she might say. Doesn’t fit the gal
anymore; she hated to give it up.
I slip into the dressing room, out
of the clothes I was wearing, out
of the mood I dragged in, change
my costume, and it’s great–not new,
but reinvented, like jazz. I draw back
the curtain for a glance in the tall
wall mirror. I swear Marianne
is out there, waving a wand.