9 to 5 Poetry Project, Poem 1: Brapanties

Well, internet people, I’m a little nervous! After posting the welcome post this morning introducing my poetry project, I got an overwhelming (for this blog, anyway) response. I admit I’m a little afraid to post poem one, knowing so many people might be reading and be disappointed. But I suppose that’s what the internet is for, isn’t it?

So while I was pushing racks around at work, I was thinking about how I wanted to structure this whole thing, and I came up with a plan. I’m going to post the poems first, so they can more or less speak for themselves. Then, at the bottom of the post, I’ll put what inspired the poem and any other notes I may have. That way you get the background, but it doesn’t color your first read. Sound good?

Okay, I’m just gonna throw this poem down here and then go cower behind my couch in fear of judgment.


It’s always “brapanties,” never “lingerie.”
In her foreign tongue, two become one,
Linked by an Indian accent.
After thirty-plus years with TJ Maxx,
Can she still not read the white block letters
That clearly proclaim “lingerie?”

Or maybe she doesn’t want to.
Our word for those brapanties tumbling clumsy
From her mouth, an anxious toddler’s first steps.
I recall how I spoke about yoga,
Wanting to give my favorite pose its Sanskrit name—
“Supta baddha konasana”—
But it came out “reclined cobbler’s pose” instead.

Notes: Okay, so that’s poem number one! I hope you got at least some enjoyment out of it. It’s been through multiple on-the-fly revisions as I typed it into the blog, but it’s still very much a work in progress. It was inspired by my being asked to “rework” (or, reorganize) the “brapanty” department the other day. At first, I thought it was funny how my manager always called it that instead of its proper name, but then I got to thinking, what if she just found “lingerie” awkward to say? And since I love yoga and she’s from India, the connection just kind of grew from there.

*Are you confused about what’s happening here? Check out the intro post for the details!


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