The Manchester Review
Tom French
Real Estate
print view


1. Day dress, Amherst

What gives it away as a replica
is the absence of wear
where you’d expect it - elbows, cuffs,
an ink stain here and there.

This is how the original looked
the day they brought it home,
before she slipped it on
and daylight began to take its toll.

2. Margaret Ryan’s petticoat

    excerpt from the Poor Law Guardians’ Minute book

The charge being proven,
let the record show
the pauper Margaret Ryan,

wearing one petticoat
more than the regulation,
owned up and was given the road.

3. Marie Curie’s wedding dress

She wanted one she could wear
to the laboratory after the curé’s
“What God has bound together…”

a cross between a lab coat and a bridal dress,
sleeves to leave her hands free, a shade
dark enough to accommodate dust.