Betsy Martin

Ladies’ Wear

There’s a character
in a TV show I watch—

she runs Ladies’ Wear
in a glittering department store

with strict grace,
every glove and hat in place,

sweaters neatly folded,
her salesgirls’ posture perfect,

as in a poem,

after hours,
she goes in secret to the warehouse,

undresses, and throws herself
on her lover, the guy who muscles the crates

and trades in contraband
cigarettes, her flame.


Betsy Martin’s chapbook, Whale’s Eye, was published by Presa Press in June 2019. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, The Briar Cliff Review, California Quarterly, Cloudbank, Crack the Spine, Diverse Voices Quarterly (Best of the Net nomination), and many others. She worked for many years at Skinner House Books in Boston. She has advanced degrees in Russian language and literature and lived in Moscow studying at the Pushkin Institute during the exciting transitional period of glasnost. She is also a visual artist.