Aly Vander Hayden

I.

What it’s like

given a purpose

spandex over damp regions

something

in the form of support

to make one’s stance better

now bent down

with a straight back

smiling

I am holding myself

through way of layers

immaculate square footage

as to expose this as

the money they’re making

sleeveless design I feel

good about

the places they agitate

practice of apparel

I ready

the delight

fold by fold

where solid answer is given

in the dressing room

unminded exposure

both parties

and disappointment over

an ill-fitting top

what event

defines the weeks leading

how we

cannot keep

a thing

to oneself

an empty Evian bottle

incessant bleating

II.

These bodies are nothing

now

a hem raised

in the company of other women

I suppose

a new regime

ways to share their confidence

wholeheartedly

their comfort and safety

contours

guilt

subsides the addition

stimulating some market

bright lights, big

department store

it’s an energy

of dress

transmitting

to soften the blow

I take part

national pastimes

Visa, MasterCard, American Express

wool against

the skin indoors

I touch

a reassuring voice

on the other side

of the curtain

III.

There is a sense

of possibility

with the purchase

emerging our bodies

in jersey, cotton

visible forms

the flawless fit

between us girls

the dress

is entrusted

given itself to

be lived

through continuity

knitted threads

colors of flesh

folding and

unfolding

in time

it’s creation

without stages

just odd moments

a skirt

a gown

a pullover

the beauty

of a crease

where it should not be

so I fashion myself

in this

lime green, strapless

it’s how

I’m seen

Crystal Light

at the pool

laughing

all my friends

perfect

and strawberry-kiwi

IV.

To reach her

I get another

one of myself

this time more

relaxed posture

an ease of achievability

from the neck up

it’s quite simple, see

just your little

cultivar

a world opens

to the places

my slingbacks take me

welcoming and

bloody like I’ve always

supposed to have been there

like they

were made for me

and the site of wounding

invites us

doing our part since we do

we do need it

fluttering fabric between my thighs

this is what

heaven feels like this

is where everything starts

a piece that is passed down

telling us stories more

than a mother

she is more than

my mother’s mother

thinking the same way and

tied at the waist

seeing yourself become an heirloom

I can’t imagine

the ruffles alone

crossing me here

this too is a form

of worship

kindred spirits

waving a credit card

in the air

I am

making this our lineage

with the use of

her middle name

and marmalade

at the mall

a life vacant of God

she prays for me in White House Black Market

Aly Vander Hayden is a writer and performer living in Ridgewood, NY, where she is working on "Bright Lights, Big Department Store," a project on fashion, genealogy, and the intimacies of consumerism. In the past, Aly has published chapbooks about girlhood and gossip, such as "Just Us Girls" and "Summer of Love,” which is co-authored by Francesca DeMusz. Her work has also appeared in the Huffington Post, HOW MIC, The Front, and Oxygen, where she is a show content producer. She holds a BFA from Pratt Institute.

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