The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Jenny Sadre-Orafai’s “Paper, Cotton, Leather”


Forgiveness Act

My doppelganger would never let this happen. She’d
swap her frilled dress for your groom pants at the
altar. She’d fling her fickle body into cartwheels down
the flowered aisle, those hired-for-the-day instru-
ments sighing at her back like some flimsy net she
didn’t hear. No one in the audience would know what
comes next so they’ll grip their hands to fight their
own applause.

From this day forward she would remember every
grocery list in her head, eat slick doughnuts only to
be reminded of symmetry, let every first date feel
her up in the backseat before the date, trash old
tickets from movies and planes. She remembers
without them.

She would take up tightrope walking to hear the
bottoms of her feet slide across wire, devote practice
time to cartwheels and splits, her specialties. After
her first performance, she will look down to you
from her glittered perch, and since she can’t feel,
you have and hold all the applause for her. You hoard
it in a jar, your souvenir.

This selection comes from Jenny Sadre-Orafai’s poetry book Paper, Cotton, Leather, available from Press 53! Purchase your copy here!

Jenny Sadre-Orafai is the author of PaperCottonLeather and four chapbooks. Recent poetry has appeared in Redivider, Eleven Eleven, Thrush Poetry Journal, PANK, Rhino, Sixth Finch, ILK, iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, and Poemeleon. Recent prose has appeared in The Rumpus, The Toast, and Delirious Hem. She is co-founding editor of Josephine Quarterly and an Associate Professor of English at Kennesaw State University.

Darren C. Demaree is the author of three poetry collections, As We Refer to Our Bodies (2013, 8th House), Temporary Champions (2014, Main Street Rag), and Not For Art For Prayer (2015, 8th House). He is the recipient of three Pushcart Prize nominations and a Best of the Net nomination. He is also a founding editor of Ovenbird Poetry and AltOhio. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.


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