It’s plain, pinned at both shoulders,
the woman’s hair and face talcumed with dust.
A revolution, exile –
she, rumpled and threadbare,
ahead: a decade of colorless fabric, rough
patches. What does a wife wear
or a daughter
while she changes history?

Something nice, like the tunic
pictured in a textile manuscript,
excavated with tweezers,
flattened and guessed at,
a linen shift with dark woven bands,
running shoulder to hem.

You make up the colors, then see them
brighten in a washing tub, her hands
twisting and wringing out the cloth.

Now see her pull it over her head and arms,
then work it down her wet braids and body
as it settles with a shrug.
Dripping and decorated. Cooler.
Water birds with red legs are hand stitched
in bands at the wrist.
She can walk to the market like this,
barefoot and dripping.

Dress code came later.

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