The town is much larger than you recall,
but you can still recognize the poor:
they vote to lose every chance they get, their faces
carry the tattoo of past embarrassments,
they are altogether too careful. This girl,
here in the print dress, pretending to shop
for an extravagance, the too slow way
her hand lingers between the colors along
the rack, her tentative hold on the clasp–
sure sigs she knows she has no business here.
Soon enough she’ll go home again with nothing especially new in her hand, but no one
needs to rush things. The afternoon itself
is unhurried, and the lighted air outside
the store has lilacs in it. Her hand finds
a yellow dress. I think she should try it on.
~This poem by Scott Cairns is, I think, one of the best poems I’ve ever read. I just love it. He really finds a way to sneak into your heart. The way he speaks about the girl is so charitable. I love his words.