Imagine that you wake up one morning and you and everyone else on the planet has a small laundry tag on the back of their neck with care instructions.
What does yours say?
I Am Incomplete Without You, Iain S. Thomas
You now hold a genuine article
Crafted with utmost care,
Woven with fibers of stormclouds,
Sewn with the threads of dreams.
Made in a place where love was at work.
Pre-washed. Pre-worn. Pre-tested.
I have been stretched and shrunken as needed
By all who have tried me on before
To better fit you at this moment.
Hold me in your hands or plunge me into your swirling depths,
Hot or cold,
Let me swim in your cycles.
Use color-safe bleach.
Remove the dirt, the grime.
Rid me of the stains and the sweat
Clinging to me
Until I am clean
But retain my memories as they are,
Vividly printed, fading only with time.
Do not use chlorine.
Don’t make healing any harsher than it has to be.
Do not wring; my anxieties do enough of that.
Let the tears fall of their own accord.
There is nothing that won’t evaporate come morning.
Iron or steam.
Press your warmth up against me,
Tip to tip,
Lay your sleek cheek against the wrinkles of my face.
Caress every hem, and seam, and cranny
Soothe me, smoothe me
Until I’m fit to present myself to the world again.
Do not dry-clean.
Do not spare me any agitation,
Not any scrape of your knuckles, not any tumble in the dark.
My beauty is not in beads and sequins.
My strength is not in wires and boning.
I don’t require protection.
I deserve the real thing.
Thank you for your choice.
All that’s left is to drape me across your shoulders,
Don’t leave me hanging in the dark.
Let me hug each curve and plane of your body
And prove to you I was worth picking up off the rack. □