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dressing gown

My mother’s lilac gown

lies on a shelf in my wardrobe

neatly folded, defunct.


I tried it on once –

it was tight, too short

at the arms.

I had a thick jumper on,

which made it worse.

I never made her laugh.

I stuck corks in her tight curls,

chicken bones in her wine glass,

feigned death,

rattled chandeliers,

whispered scriptures, wandered the hall

at Midnight

with her salmon-pink shawl

over my head, and still…

nothing. Not a flicker

of a smile.


I have the shawl

in my bottom drawer,

entombed half a world

from the corpse

it warmed.

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