Cast Off Clothes

by Carolin Messier

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Cast off clothes
in racks and rows.
The honest beat of thrift shop blues
beats that emperor’s new threads
There’s no shame
in lives displayed on wire hangers
stained and torn
frayed and faded
and others barely worn.

Cast off clothes
in racks and rows.
Sweaters, shirts, skirts, and jeans:
try on other people’s lives
well-worn and weary
or nicely broken in.
A bathrobe becomes
a summer coat.
A strapless purse,
a hat.

Give new life
to old ideas;
let go of personas,
costumes and constraints
to understand and embrace
the stories told
by these cast off clothes
in racks and rows
and the varied lives they dressed.