Flipping Through the Lingerie Section of a JC Penny Catalogue | Chapter and Verse | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Flipping Through the Lingerie Section of a JC Penny Catalogue

By Bernadette Ulsamer

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I need a new black bra,
my others have faded,
straps once tightened
are now slack,
padding collapsed.

I need smooth and streamlined,
lace, something sheer,
to show a hint
of nipple for him,
nipple for me.

A black bra to peek
through the gaps
of a blouse,
to cause a bit of swell.
I need balance between

numbers and letters
to rest at my heart,
to test the margins
of t-shirts.
I need to be Madonna

in the Open Your Heart video
with tassels
as weapons, straddling
an open-backed chair.
Need matching

panties and garters under
my trench coat, showing up,
in the rain, at an old boyfriend's doorstep
my face wet, mascara
smeared, both of us drenched.

Bernadette Ulsamer

Bernadette Ulsamer earned an MFA from Carlow University, where she is a member of Madwomen in the Attic. She is the author of the chapbook "Trestling," published by Flutter Press. Her poetry has appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper, The Main Street Rag, Cossack Literary Journal, Roar Magazine and The Broken Plate, and has been anthologized in Voices from the Attic, Along These Rivers and Dionne's Story. Her poem "ICU, Holy Thursday" was long-listed for the International Fish Poetry Prize 2013. She also blogs at www.outfitsnotjustclothes.blogspot.com. She lives in the South Side Slopes. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.

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