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July 2017, vol 13 no 2

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Maureen Kingston

Tailor’s Chalk


The white triangle temporarily marks, highlights the man’s crotch rise, his waist cinch. Its vectors flash danger in the triptych mirror, glint like an arrowhead in flight.

Or so the young man fantasizes. A more dignified plot than reality – shallow fingers raking his sides, tickling the backs of his thighs, an ancient talc-wielder punishing every fidget with editorial pinch.

Blood-sport-lite, this business of suit-fitting, a shrunken arena, where a hero might be allowed to pet the famed coliseum kitty, but must never, ever, attempt to slit its throat.

A tailor’s calculus ought to seduce a man, make him feel legionary – gladius and pila – capable of hewing spans, aqueducts, civilizations. A man ought to feel inspired in the fitting circle, not trapped or crowded, not like a steer in the chute about to be stunned.

The cutter directs him to “quarter-turn, quarter-turn, and hold.” In the mirror, the man spies his haunches, lightly chalked with X’s and dashed lines. A petty graffiti. Glancing slights that would leave behind no epic tale, no boast-worthy scars.

dancing contrails . . .
the groom lands
his wingtips just so


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