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.
- Robert Ford 2017
Robert Ford lives on the east coast of Scotland. His poetry has appeared in both print and online publications in the UK and US, including Antiphon, Clear Poetry, Homestead Review and Ink, Sweat and Tears. More of his work can be found at https://wezzlehead.wordpress.com/