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This poem is taken from PN Review 230, Volume 42 Number 6, July - August 2016.

Two Poems Julith Jedamus
Lai’s Alterations

We set aside old grievances and drive to the
tailor’s: Lai’s Alterations for Men and Women,
though Lai and his father are the only men in
this one-room shop where fans flutter the garment bags
and Lai’s sparse hair. He kneels to mark the hem for a
maid of honour as the bride admires her purple
crêpe du chine. Female chatter drowns the hum of high
rotors and Lai’s voice: melodious, deferent.

The line grows longer. My mother and I hold our
limp slack-waisted skirts, in need of new elastic
and Lai’s expertise. He serves my mother first; I
look away as she lifts her blouse to help him with
his measurements, but not before I see those pale
rolls of flesh … I flash back to nineteen seventy-
three, when she basked on the lawn in her bikini
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