The Iowa Review

The Ideal Form During the Middle Ages A Young Daughter of the Picts

- Camille Guthrie

I’ve found it What Plato said From the Winter 2006 Collection A dusty rose 100% silk knee-length Pleated trim at neck pintucking at bodice Low scoop over the breast self-tie bow at the neck Concealed back zip closure no pocketed Valentino dress Condition Pristine Estimated retail $5,238 online Bust 28” Waist 25” Hip 32” Length 39” Made in Italy It’s the Form of the Dress It’s not a sundress not a shirtdress Not a mini not a maxi not a wrap No pouf no halter no spaghetti straps Not a bubble blouson or ball gown Not one-shoulder not tiered not A-line Not Grecian Empire or Sabrina Not a tent not apron definitely not Bodycon Not a jumper prom tunic or maid Not shift sheath slip But an utterly perfect silk light pink dress To wear to be my perfect self In this imperfect corrupt world Maybe my prom dress had a 25” waist Before motherhood before middle age When I was Condition Pristine I don’t even know anymore But I need the Perfect Form now To wear to this meeting today To finalize the end of my marriage I need all the power of the history of femininity The indignatio­n of every wife ever Who has been lied to And left without $5,238 to participat­e In one of the world’s finest impossible ideas

The Form of Beauty “Itself by itself with itself” says Plato Which makes us all insane Living as we do in Late Capitalism All alone online late at night scrolling For the perfect fuck perfect husband perfect outfit Both affordable and devastatin­g To make everyone in the room Gasp from its spectacula­r beauty And you win even though You’ve already lost because you’re a woman And you wasted twenty years Building a future with someone who would leave you When it was convenient and let you loose Into this dangerous world of shadows Without a way the means To the perfect Valentino dress And to go with it Perfect fuck you pumps

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