A Lesson in Fashion

I got the Felice Hooper.
It was just a variation on the dress suit
but it looked good on.

You look great,’ said a friend.
I’ll call Johnny. When he sees you
he’ll want to do a shoot
with you in it

I left for the shoot.
I was on my way through the arcade
when a stranger fell into step beside me.

That fits really well,’ she said.
Thanks,’ I said.
She seemed to be going to the same place
as me.

It’s like I made it just for you.’
Now I looked, I knew who it was.
It was Felice Hooper.

Oh,’ I said and laughed.
She laughed too.

We kept walking.
We crossed the road,
stepping out from under the shop verandahs
into sunshine.

She smiled.
I looked at her.
I saw her.

We can see each other,’ she said.
How?’ I thought.
You like me,’ she said
as if answering.

We both laughed and carried on to where
the billboard was, on the corner
of a busy intersection.

My socks were wearing thin.
My toes were coming through.

Don’t even bother. Look,’ she said, taking
off her shoes. ‘It’s like that with fashion.’

When we get back to the shop
I’ll get you some more
,’ she said.

The billboard rose above us
like the prow of a ship.

The men arrived dressed in zoot suits
with low-brimmed hats.
Johnny was not impressed.

He pointed to the wavy line of a hat brim,
a cuff that wasn’t straight, and the line
of a trouser leg that wasn’t adequately

Be careful what you pay for,’ he warned.
The men shuffled and mumbled
in the dusty room.

Sunlight came through the large
mullioned windows giving on
to the street below.