From the start, there were those who asked—
so what, if his outfit makes no sense—
the high-priced fabric appearing cheap,
transparent—like nothing paraded
around the White House before. And spot-lit
ever since—the need for embroidery,
the stitchwork wilder, weightier from one day
to the next—the pattern of hype
woven over hype. We’re talking twisted
threads—a barbed-wire look,
the way it screams for more accessories,
garish frills, elements of fringe.
Think ready-to-wear! Nonsense becoming
the rage, a uniform for senators
and representatives hot to slip it on.
Believe it or not—one size fits all—
the drape made to cover any backside,
the pleats to hide extra-
deep pockets. Of course, you can take it
to the bank. Don it for playing
golf. Tailor it for walking into court,
for oaths, pledges of allegiance.
It’s all about the cinching of the cuffs,
the choke of the collar,
about sweating underneath new layers.
And about a whole fashion tribe
buying it up, marching it down the streets,
past police, guarded doors,
the Capitol—the runway of their dreams,
a shit-smeared, blood-stained show.
Copyright 2021 Christine Rhein
Christine Rhein is the author of Wild Flight, winner of the 2008 Walt McDonald First-Book Series in Poetry.