White Shirts Are Trouble
by Lora Keller

First, there’s the one
slipped slurp,
stammering my fall
from grace,
my stumble
into pre-soaks
and rust-spitting irons.

A chiffon scarf saves the day,
a veil for my spatters.

But then wrinkles spread
like veins
from inside my elbow --
creases dusted
with dirt;
valleys yellow
with sweat.

At my tender wrist,
three silver bangles chime
the final ruin.

My placket puckers
and pulls as I pray.
Even women stare at the gap,
waiting for the mortal explosion
of white, freckled flesh, the spray
of coarse, cotton thread
and tiny, pearl buttons.

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