A Poem About a Woman Wearing a Red Dress

8 Dec

Print Available here


What do Women Want?

Kim Addonizio

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.

One Response to “A Poem About a Woman Wearing a Red Dress”

  1. co9mom October 6, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    I love this! It is the instructions I will leave my children with for my wishes when I die. Thank you! Rachel

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