Ginger Rogers' Panties


White flash coming
in flashes, bare, never flashy
but always there, tight

in all the right places, a suggestion
less feigned than her penciled-in lifted
eyebrow at the innocent innuendo.

Mostly a modest
white, modish quite, the brightest
spot in the gray of the frame.

Only Fred can't see, sigh.

Everyone else watches
blankness – glimpse of nothing
or stardom before the legs blink –

don't know the plot line
but could describe the pleat
line, could measure the arc

the panties follow, pausing
at the peak where the up and down
touch. Start of a starlet, they said.

Evening-tossed and dropped
and dripping with gaze, lying
astray among ashtrays, sewn

badly then strewn about, even
the seamstress peers captive
at them in the dimness backstage, repairing

pair after pair and secretly
loving, more than anything,
unthreading the hanging hems.




Published under the name Jeanette Karhi in River Styx, 2004, Vol. 68