The Dresses by Saryn Chorney

The faded denim of a Venice skyline
My tattered white wedding dress
A decade hung out to dry
Whips and flaps upon the clothesline

The bride and I
We visit an Abbot Kinney shop
Trying on new dresses
Designer Parisian gowns
And a bird of paradise
Hops down from its gilded cage
Onto my lap
Its feathers a smattering of rainbows
Confetti hearts all over its head

We purchase the avian-approved gowns
And return home to
An empty white bedroom
Overlooking the Pacific
In my bathrobe, I try to choose:
Which dress should I wear?

I peek out the door and see
The groom
He is holding court
In a room full of children
Some might call it spying
But I am merely observing
The lives of others

Perseveration in the vacant room
Over this elementary scene
What is the right dress to wear?
The loneliness of the space
Betrays a void inside
Which tends to fill, admittedly
With the imagined Hollywood intrigue
Of homespun cinema

The chimes outside my window
Signal it’s time to leave the chamber
I slip off my bathrobe
And step into a white sheath
My ephemeral nightgown

The children have dispersed
Like Pac-Man ghosts
And I, invisible, attend the wedding
Of the groom and his bride
She’s not me
Though they are married
Under my watch,
And the ceremony
Is in a foreign tongue

I look down at my gown
It’s different now
From the day it was first donned
And admired by many
The wear and tear of time
The forces of nature
And salt air
Have changed the tailored
Artistry of the once-elegant lace
Into a collection of
Random, ever-changing shapes
And moments
With new meanings

There is still beauty
To be found
In the breakdown
Of once upon a time

Saryn Chorney is a senior editor at Previously a managing editor of MSN’s Wonderwall, she also was founding editor-in-chief of AOL’s PawNation, a dating and weddings columnist for the New York Post, and a contributing writer for Paper, ELLEgirl, YourTango and more. A former L.A. Westsider, Saryn currently lives in Brooklyn and enjoys painting, illustration, playing with cats and waxing nostalgic about the ’80s.