Dad keeps Mum’s favourite dress
deep in the bottom of the ottoman.
Sometimes, when he is at work
I stand listening to the tick of the clock
then go upstairs.
And propping up
the squeaky wooden lid, I dig through
layers of rough, winter blankets
feeling for that touch of silk.
The blue whisper of it, cool
against my cheek.
Other times – the school-test times,
to-say-goodnight times –
I wrap the arms of the dress around me,
breathing in a smell, faint as dried flowers.
I remember how she twirled around
– like a swirl of sky.
When I am old enough I will wear it.
Pulling up the white zip,
I’ll laugh and spin,
calling out to my daughter:
How do I look?
from If You Could See Laughter (Salt, 2010), © Mandy Coe, 2010, used by permission of the author and Salt Publishing