Hand-me-downs are better,
I think, than the stiff of new leather
or the cold crisp of a blouse hung primly.
I drape my body in the old wears
of my mother, the thin silk skirts discarded
at a thrift shop door
the stuffed-toe shoes from my aunt’s closet.
I am swaddled in their past and sometimes
their present if we agree to share.
Hands like tiny stars have clung to this sweater’s sleeves
a classroom of chalkboard imagination stitched into the yarn.
These shoes, shiny black, toes squeezed so they all point north
stomped across marble courthouse floors, making a case for justice
and mercy and the practicality of stiletto heels.
These earrings, drizzling chains of gold chiming
quietly in my hair
turned my grandmother’s ears into chandeliers and dazzled
all the men in nearby candlelight.
I am a living tapestry of beautiful women.
Their warmth hums in my seams.