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"The Blue Dress" by Sharon Olds

The first November after the divorce there was a box from my father on my birthday—no card, but a big box from Hink’s, the dark department store with a balcony and mahogany rail around the balcony, you could stand and press your forehead against it until you could almost feel the dense grain of the wood, and stare down into the rows and rows of camisoles, petticoats, bras, as if looking down into the lives of women.

The box was from there, he had braved that place for me the way he had entered my mother once to get me out.  I opened the box—I had never had a present from him— and there was a blue shirtwaist dress

blue as the side of a blue teal disguised to go in safety on the steel-blue water.

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