Probably a grandmother said it to you,
Or a cousin that you called aunt
Because she hadn’t married and was
As old as your mother.
“Absolutely never go out of the house
With a safety pin holding up your slip.”
It struck fear in your heart
And still does
Even though modern women
Rarely wear slips anymore.
Unless you wear things out of sleazy catalogues
Like bras that wouldn’t fit a mouse.
They do come in your mail.
They come in everyone’s
Without request, but you don’t stop them
You see yourself in a Merry Widow
That sets you in the Tenderloin or a brocade brothel.
There’s a little touch of the prurient
In everyone, the titillation
Or spinster aunt suspected.
They tried to save you from it,
In case the coroner was called in.