The single outfit in the window
suggests a couture boutique,
hidden from the common shopper
in this secluded lane.
But drawing opposite,
mother of the bride hat dissolves
into the Norman arch of a bishop’s mitre.
I adopt a funeral mute’s pace
that enables discrete eyes right,
unwilling to peer openly in the window at merchandise,
for fear of meeting God’s gaze behind the counter.
A second visit and I melt amongst curious tourists,
squinting into the interior the high church bling
of icons and incense burners, surprises,
and the choice of robes on rails contradicts
my belief that standard vestments are issued on ordination.
Now I imagine priests browsing for flattering colours,
matching surplices with stoles.
Weeks later, I present you with the shop,
which you regard like an eccentric gift,
my innuendos having led you to expect a sex emporium.
Nevertheless, giggling we push the door but sober up
at the shop’s church quiet.
As if obeying an invisible ‘Do not touch’ sign,
we gape at the shelves of beseeching Madonnas,
Christs thrusting out bleeding palms,
crosses bearing down like a crusading army,
crucifixes recreating miniature Golgothas,
You stammer, Who would…? They are so….
whilst I can’t even muster a chuckle
at the display of rock star Jesus mugs.
Your I must get out of here
is the starting gun for our rapid exit.
Outside we gulp for air as if through oxygen masks,
then head back to the high street,
jibbering about summer clothes.
If you have any comments on this poem, Fiona Sinclair would be