Tie-dyed T-shirt

Fiona Ritchie Walker

Boutique Elvira's were fourteen bob
so I bought cheap white
from Slasher Bill, Dylon from Boots.

The powder bled blue in the bowl,
lay like a still pool while I took string,
smooth pebbles from Usan,

shells brought back from Benidorm,
tied them up with dreams
of frothy coffees at Cura's,

having money for the jukebox,
platforms from Hogg's shoe shop
and Miner's make-up from Woolworth's,

late-night dancing at the Locarno,
longing to be walked home,
to stand in our close and be kissed.

I soaked them all in denim blue, never found
the Marigolds, used bare hands to pound it out
and rinse again until the water ran clear

and I could cut the string and find
my own tie-dyed
to wear to the beach, the baths,

the barbecue where he would open
my hot tin of beans then walk me home
and one day months away

would ask to wear it and I would gladly
give it, imagine his muscles within it
then move on and forget

until a lifetime later
I'm passing Fenwick's window
and there's my t-shirt's twin

so when my husband comes home, nothing cooked,
nothing ready, I'm still crouched by the cupboard,
my hands stained blue by the shell.

Fiona Ritchie Walker

Fiona Ritchie Walker is originally from Montrose, Angus but has lived in NE England since the early 1990s. As well as her Diamond Twig collection, Lip Reading, her work has appeared in magazines and anthologies. Tie-dyed T-shirt comes from her second collection, Garibaldi's Legs, recently published by Iron Press.

Strip, Fiona's previous Poem of the Month, is also printed in that collection.


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Strip © 2005 Fiona Ritchie Walker: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.

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This page last updated 28th June 2005