Dressing up as Groucho Marx, Rain

By Kelly Wisdom

“Androgyny15” ©RAZ Zarate (https://www.flickr.com/photos/127612900@N02/15692214164)

Dressing up as Groucho Marx

My sweet-sixteen hair
dyed beetle-body black
confirmed me as Groucho
when my friends and I
took parts for our
1920s project.
With oil-dark,
center-parted hair
I copied his glasses
and moustache,
his suit and cigar
his tricks and his snark.

All I wanted was
to try things on—
black hair
boys’ t-shirts
backless dresses
Karen’s velvet top
her brazen walk
Groucho’s indifferent cigar flick.

All I wanted
was to perform
a thousand daily
on myself
and feel as free
as I did that day
in clothes not my own,
trying on someone new.


Sheltered, I sit
beneath a saturated sky.
A hundred perfect watery circles
pound politely on the windshield.

Once, we wandered
Spring Garden Street
while it showered, giddy,
high in every sense.
Your Aphrodite hair
clung to freckle-flecked cheeks.
We skipped to the Citgo,
bought beer as dawn broke.
Smoking, I waited at the sidewalk,
watched you pour yourself
over the counter at the poor clerk.
I craved your thin bones,
envious of elbows, hips, ribs,
pelvis jutting from dripping jeans.
Walking back, our clothes held us earthbound.
We released them at the apartment door,
floated into the room in our underwear,
the wet wind following after.

Surely we loved then,
two tender, curveless girls drinking,
soaked with new rain?

Now, the clouds hover overhead,
pattering tempo swells against glass,
traffic surges forward,
slick with water
as I sit inside

Kelly Wisdom teaches English at a community college in North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and two rescue pets (dog/cat). She holds an MFA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University and an MA in English from the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. Her writing has previously been featured in Atticus Review and Sanskrit Literary Arts Magazine.

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2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Summer says:

    You are incredible. Beautifully written and so real.

  2. Ira Bradley says:

    I love these and you know my love of poetry.

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