I read Julia’s Chocolates by Cathy Lamb.  It has a wonderful opening line, “I left my wedding dress hanging in a tree somewhere in North Dakota.”  The story takes the character to Oregon where she has the normal chick lit life changes.  I kept wondering, what happened to the dress?!   She only mentioned it in passing. So, I wrote a poem about it.  In the poem, I’m showing how, when you do something completely source for yourself, it ripples out to others in a way you could never have imagined. 

Once I completed the poem, I sent it in an email to Ms. Lamb, complimenting her on a story that inspired me so much.  She responded back with an effusive compliment in return and told me to get writing.  Here is the poem:  

Totem Dress


“I left my wedding dress hanging in a tree somewhere in North Dakota.” Julia’s Choice by Cathy Lamb


The dress hung there over a week before anyone noticed it.

Barbara saw the flap of white, pulled a U-ey

and went back to look.

Was it a ghost, a parachute, or what? 

she had to know for sure

and seeing it was a wedding dress

what the heck?

she dropped to her butt

awed amazed

at the audacity the courage – no, the chutzpah,

it took to strip this dress off and

toss it into a tree into the woods

and let Mother Nature take over from there.

So she picked some tiger lilies from the ditch

and placed them beneath the dress

and took a picture.


That night when she got to her sister’s over in Kildeer

she told her about the dress

in the woods waving in the wind,

showed her the picture

the dress still sparkly with seed pearls and beads.

And they talked about the woman who put it there

and where she ended up and

where they wanted her to end up.

And Barbara said, “Let’s go put something there, too.”

and her sister said,

“No… I think that’s something you got to do by yourself.”

And set her mouth.


A few days later Barbara drove to the dress

and there was a blue baby sweater stuck on the end of a branch

and her sister called that night

to say she’d kicked Travis out

put all his 28 years old

college wasn’t right for me, Mom

can’t find a job

video game playing

stuff at the end of the driveway.


Friday, Barbara found a black garter belt

a bunch of black stockings

tied to another tree and

a pair of stilettos planted

deep in the detritus.


The next Tuesday, there was an office chair in the woods

lumbar support propped against a sassafras.

You could still see the wheel tracks

where it was dragged in from the ditch.

Saturday there was a padded bra

flung way up in the tree above the dress.

Sunday there was a pink ballerina jewelry box

with a stick tepee built over it.


Thursday there was a pile of fresh dirt and

when Barbara dug into it with a stick

she found pictures all torn to pieces.

She covered them back up and

picked some purple loosestrife to lay there.


It goes on like this

some weeks there’s a lot

some weeks nothing

but it hasn’t stopped

the flowers and clothes and things

that joined the wedding dress

relics left

like the crutches at Lourdes.


©Copyright 2008, Pat Edwards


I also recommend her second book, The Last Time I was Me.