Imitation

Imitation 

I trudge through the winter sales
trying on one coat after another
but none look right on me.

In the mirror
I see myself,
younger,
flat-chested,
ugly,
in Mammy’s
good, wool coat,
too big for me,
the weight of it
and the smell
of her Tweed perfume,
familiar, reassuring.

I remember her
putting her coat on
over normal clothes,
on her way out the door
to a funeral,
brushing her short,
greying hair roughly
in the antique mirror
over the fire.
I imagine her
at the grave,
respectable,
her gold peacock brooch
pinned to the front,
shaking hands,
Sorry for your troubles.

I soldier on,
determined
to look like
a proper woman
should.

 

*published in The Stinging Fly Issue 21, 2012 & Other Things I Didn’t Tell