I dreamt about a coat last night—


woolly, sort of swing-y,

not my usual style.

‘I’m a jacket person,’ I would say,

and so I’d wear dull colours,

browns and blacks –

men’s jackets, to boot.


football jerseys

T-shirts miles too big.

Because of cancer,

because of how it made me feel –

less of a woman, less of a human –

I’d stopped wearing makeup.

No more jewelry. No perfumes.

No anything, unless it had healing powers.

I let the grey hairs have their way.

Because of cancer,

I lost tons of weight.

I could fit into the designer clothes

I’d die-eted most of my life to fit into.

‘You look fantastic!’ I’d hear.

(But would you really die to look this way?)

Still I wore the dull colours

the shapeless shirts,

in boys’ sizes now, not men’s—

that was the only difference.

Not used to thinking well, healed,

My slender self still styled illness.


You arrived on my doorstep,

Darragh in tow.

‘We’re caring and sharing today,’ you said,

handing me a big parcel. ‘Open it later,’ you said,

and left


So, later, henna-ed to the hilt

(I’d felt like colouring my hair)

I opened your gift,

your presents of purple,

the lot of lavender,

the silken, stripe-y scarves,

the heathery hat, and—

The Coat.

The woolly, swing-y coat.

The Coat of Dreams.

Thank you, Sheila.

Monasterevin, 26 October 2010



2 thoughts on “Coat”

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