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Modesty vs. Provocavity: Valerie

By Valerie Tseng

Born in the middle of a cold January night,

I have always needed the comfort

And warmth, and presence of my clothing

So rarely am I seen on these brisk autumn days

Without my sherpa denim jacket,

Its tall row of buttons tucks my skin away

And in the heat of summertime

Long sleeves under my thin straps

A whisper of a layer to hide my skin

When it nears my birth season year after year

I love the bitter cold as it fills the air

But it never runs past my high necklines,

For this skin of mine loves the feeling

Of something


Or patterned

Or knit

Or denim

Between it and the rest of the world

It reminds me

Of the warmth of a baby’s blanket

On her first night of life in the dead of January.

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