Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Dressing Gown


“Highsmith’s closest friend
presented me with a gift—
Pat’s old dressing gown”
—Andrew Wilson, Beautiful 
Shadow: A Life of Patricia 

I tried the gown on—
it was like slipping under
the skin of Patricia Highsmith

It was dark blue wool—
with black, blue and
beige stripe cuffs

Its lining was a rather—
fine twill with a soft
tasseled waist cord

Purchased at Harrods—
strands of grey hair still
nestled around the neck

A strange air of—
otherworldliness even
suggested her nearby

Taking my clothes off—
so I could feel the gown
next to my bare skin

Easing my arms—
through the same soft
dark spaces and

Tying the waist-band—
feeling the nuances of
her gown around me

I looked down at—
my hands and they
were Highsmith’s hands

I picked up a pen—
and I began writing
like she would have

I listened to her—
most intimate thoughts
flowing through me

I felt Tom Ripley—
doing drag there in
that Berlin disco

But it was that—
exquisite feeling of
Pat’s soft dressing gown

Against my own—
naked skin that really
turned me on

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