“What Do Women Want?” by Kim Addonizio

I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

Kim Addonizio, “What Do Women Want?” from Tell Me. Copyright © 2000 by Kim Addonizio.

Kim AddonzioKim Addonizio has published five collections of poetry, two novels, two books on writing poetry, and a collection of stories, and has co-edited a book of writing on tattoos. Her latest book of poems is Lucifer at the Starlite (W.W. Norton). She has received Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, and been a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2014 she will publish My Black Angel: Blues Poems & Portraits with woodcuts by Charles D. Jones, and The Palace of Illusions, a collection of stories. She volunteers with The Hunger Project, a global organization empowering the most impoverished people in the world to end their own hunger. Visit her web site at www.kimaddonizio.com