What do Women Want?
I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.
This poem spoke to me. I’ll tell you why. I saw a woman who knows what she wants, lives comfortably in her passion, and fearlessly embraces the beautiful recklessness that comes when we reveal who we really are with confidence and ease. I like this woman. I like her red dress. I like that I don’t have to be confused and left to guess about “what’s underneath.” I like a woman who swishes her hips when she walks in front of a crowd and tilts her chin up just a touch as she looks you dead in the eye. I like this woman wearing this red dress. I like her a lot.