Yellow Sundresses

Yellow Sundresses

By Rhea Mathews ’21. Art by Natcha Sophonpanich ’20.

Soft cotton fabric
The color of the sun
The color of her soul

Sleeves like buttercups
Gentle short frills
Forming a delicate ‘u’
That didn’t dip too low
Her mother wouldn’t approve of that
She didn’t know how deep she needed to go
For herself

But she did know
That she loved
The little bow
Around her waist
Just below the brown buttons
All along the front
Nicely, neatly in a line

Unlike all the other things in her life

Each day
Brought its
And its

But at least we had

Yellow sundresses with neat little brown buttons all in a row
And waists wrapped with a delicate bow

At least we had
Soft cloth cut from sunshine and optimism
Pooling lightly around calves
Calves that have walked
Too far
For far
Too long

At least we had small shining moments of joy
Like delicate, perfect yellow sundresses on beautiful women

Or do we?

Where is our perfect sundress
With buttercup sleeves
With ‘u’s that mothers would approve of
With bows and buttons
With sunshine and optimism cloth pooling around
Too tired calves?

She doesn’t have it
It doesn’t exist
It doesn’t exist outside of her mind

She’s hunted
Our delicate sunshine goddess
She’s ravaged
Every store
When she can spare the time
Always, always running out of time

This one’s too short
Too yellow
Not yellow enough
Too many frills
No buttons
No bows
No, not that one! It doesn’t have perfect buttercup sleeves
No, I don’t want lace, it needs to be soft cotton fabric, the color of the sun, the color of my soul!

Soft cotton fabric
The color of the sun
The color of her soul

Couldn’t we have perfect yellow sundresses?
Couldn’t we shroud ourselves in the fabric of optimism
And move and heal and grow?
Like dandelions
Stubbornly growing
Even through the concrete

Couldn’t we have simple sundresses
With buttons in neat rows
As the world dissolves into chaos and sorrow
Couldn’t we have small shining
Moments of joy

Dressed in soft cotton fabric
The color of the sun
The color of her soul