Poetry by Helen Leslie Sokolsky: “Friday’s Dress”

Helen Leslie Sokolsky’s distinctive new poetry chapbook, Two Sides of a Ticket (Finishing Line Press, 2014), contains a portrait gallery of urban characters. Their alienation is healed, momentarily, by the author’s mature and compassionate re-imagining of the lives she glimpses in passing. These narratives show us recognizable scenes made fresh by Sokolsky’s original metaphors. I first discovered her work when she won third prize in our 2012 Tom Howard Poetry Contest at Winning Writers for “The Coat“. I’m happy to share a poem from Two Sides of a Ticket below. “Friday’s Dress” was selected for publication by Mary Oliver when she was on the editorial board of Poet Lore.

Friday’s Dress

One day I put on
Friday’s dress ( but you not liking the
color asked me to leave)
saying I could strut the streets.
I left my shoes behind to be mended
drew the shades on books face down
and frosted glass
taking with me
the child who was; soaking my feet in
untouched soil I have learned
to live on flowers
my hair grown wild slathered
with sea. Each day I go
and gather
berries, climbing later
with them and my dreams
to touch and toast the sunset
(not content to live on hills you
know I had to look for mountains).
They tell me that my shoes are mending
and you are holding them
turning them over. Should you
want to bring them with you, it may
be hard for you to find me
for I am always barefoot now.
Try to look back and see if you can,
a child running loose
her arms open wide
with the stain of ripe berries
smearing her hands.

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