My African Trousseau

twitterSuzanne Ondrus‘ first book Passion Seeds won the 2013 Vernice Quebodeaux Pathways Poetry Prize. She is a Fulbright Scholar in Burkina Faso, West Africa where she teaches creative writing.


My African Trousseau

The fabric is folded,
patterns and colors
in dark drawers.

You, my love, are gone.
but the fabric remains,
away from light,
away from my eyes.

I remember wearing them
to feel you,
to proclaim my African
identity through clothes.

As if through cloth
I could be your wife,
wound together through
orange and blue circles,

peahens against yellow,
red hibiscus flowers
against white,
and black zig zags
over mud cloth.

I’ll always wrap you in orange,
even though you hated it.
It was my favorite color,
the color I wrapped Burkina
in. The color of mangoes.
Fruit of our love. Dried.
Fresh. Sweetness frozen.

If that dye could dip
down to my soul
and wipe up my sorrow,
my dark pit of grief
wrapped in indigo.

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