The local sage of lingerie,
I passed her shop again today.
I need to ask her for advice,
I’ve torn a hole in costly tights.
It’s quite discreet—behind the knee—
So, will it hold? If none can see,
Is it worthwhile to replace?
Well, though it’s small, it’s a disgrace.
My dear, don’t wear a garment—ever—
That has a flaw. Oh never, never!
I listened to this ageing girl
In hopes of yet another pearl.
For just imagine you were in
An accident, what deep chagrin
You’d feel to have your holey tights
Revealed beneath the theatre lights
In hospital. You’d be exposed!
But, by what reasons I supposed
Would one believe that flaws inside
One’s undergarments override
Broken bones and loss of breath,
Concussion, burns, or risk of death?
Perhaps there’s no protection from
Fatality? If it’s to come,
Let one’s tenue remain exact,
Preserve one’s dignity intact.
This is one’s armor, she would say,
It keeps old Chaos far away.
Do right by it—There’s nothing sadder
Than a nylon with a ladder,
A clasp un-clasped or stay un-stayed.
Join in the fray, but stay un-frayed.
If life somehow gives you the slip,
At least you’ve not displayed the rip.
Buy but beware. Be groomed. Take care.
Enfin, you are your underwear.
Susan de Sola is an American poet living in the Netherlands. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Hudson Review, The Dark Horse, Measure, American Arts Quarterly, Light, and many other publications.