Bessie (from WORK WE DO) Bra Saleswoman

(I have started a new series of poems called WORK WE DO.  I wrote 20 job poems for my friend Fran but I am writing them again.  For reasons of poems.  Here’s one.)

Bessie worked at the TOWN SHOP,  store that started

in 1888 by the Koch family still theirs now on the Lower East side  bras

etcetera.  Everything underneath.  For many many

years Bessie’s been giving out bra and bathing suit advice

lived in Harlem grew up knowing what your breasts

should look like she didn’t mince words Who Sold You That

she’d say  while you were trying on what she brought

she’d tell you about her life, mixed but usually pretty good.  She liked

Hot Ministers wasn’t shy about the details then she’d

ask  about yours You Still Married she’d always begin.  Bessie

said my favorite ever sentence about a Gottex bathing suit she’d

brought into the dressing room to try.  ”

You can’t possibly get that off fast enough for my eyeballs.”

Bessie died a few weeks ago  yesterday when I

went to the Town Shop for a strapless bra  young woman

name sounded like Chrysanthemum said Don’t Worry

I learned  from Bessie she wanted her customers to

look ok even after she’s gone.


Esther Cohen
Let me tell you why I'm here, and why I hope you'll join me. I am here to poem, to play with words, to tell stories when I can, and to ask you for yours. Words are what I love, how I see, and what I say. Words are how I know my life, and how I find my friends. I'm here to ask you to join me. Right here. To send me your stories, and your poems. And to read mine when you can.

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