Poem: Auction couture

Did she ever go naked under that mink

For herself, or someone else’s pleasure?

Did she lounge in the mint green silk

‘At Home’ in Manhattan

Or in suburban Philly,

Or the backwoods of New Jersey?

Did she lord it over her crowd, if she had a crowd,

Her Armani dresses and Chanel ball gowns

Carrying garment finishes

So codified in name and execution

That familiarity with the nomenclature

Is a pass code to fashion’s inner sanctum:

Grosgrain trim, nutria fur,

Tonal stitching, chamfered corners.

Did these details please her?

Who was she whose designer treasures

Are up for auction now,

Fitted onto headless, Barbie-doll-style forms

With shoeless, tipped-up feet,

And thrust out breasts

Not possible to accomplish

Without a bullet bra.

Who was she whose clothing misdemeanors

Are exposed in the published details

Of each auction Bid Lot:

Interior collar with light discoloration. . .Brown discoloration–likely liquid stain on upper left area of skirt on front running down side – from description of Victor Costa ensemble

Who was she whose perspiration stains these labels,

Whose memories reside in these scarves and handbags,

Whose friends and lovers touched these fabrics,

Whose persona is a ghost.


The prompt for this poem was the notice of an auction of designer couture. It is a real auction but a poetic interpretation only.  The images are from the online catalog of Live Auctioneers.

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