It was autumn in my endless year. I was under-ripe,
an empty bucket. So I bought an overcoat belonging to
a dead man. I gave a five pound note to his crushed-up
daughter, and released it from where it was hanging,
all limp and unwanted, in a hidden closet, next to
a woollen suit and a defeated army of collared shirts.
The sweetness of the lining against my shaved neck
offered a first kiss, the stretch of bottle-green cloth
across my unsteady shoulders, an embrace, of sorts.
Wearing it with black shoes punched with silver buckles,
and a shirt whose tight cuffs never quite stopped making
my wrists itch (though I was glad of the distraction),
I toyed with a bashfulness easily mistaken for arrogance,
took the first, tiny steps in a long, unmapped journey.
first published in Bluepepper, 2017