I fell for your overcoat first.
Charcoal grey, woollen, expensive,
like a totem it seemed to represent
your respectability reinforced by your courtliness;
opening coffee shop door, helping off my coat, pulling out
Divested, it revealed effort made with
black ‘slacks’ and crew neck sweater,
Outward gentility affirmed by first date details,
an engineer (my out breath at proper profession).
Your narrative honed of course over many such meet-ups
but me always hooked by a good story, sat savouring
my cappuccino and your boy’s own adventures.
So much so did not notice the carefully redacted
personal details so summed you up as middle class, upright …
Later I learned the coat was charity shop treasure,
purchased as a defence against British winters.
Years working in Australia, Saudi, Malaysia
your body’s thermostat had default reset to 40 degrees…
But by Spring as we peeled off layers
I learned the coat lent you this air of respectability,
your past’s unexpurgated version
colourful as a Grayson Perry tapestry,
that made for nodding acceptance
of my own Hogarthian history.
And something about my bulging wardrobe
re–awakened your sleeping dandy;
Crombies, dapper with a hint of dodgy,
replaced the great coat’s solid respectability,
augmented by mirrored shades, fancy shoes,
V necks in red, purple, pink, dandy waistcoats…
all revealing your true colours.
Yet at times you still don residual great coat responsibility,
insisting I cut up credit cards and old fashioned ‘save up’ for
whilst Crombied you play the gentlemen crook in B and Q…
If you have any comments on this poem, Fiona Sinclair would be
pleased to hear from you.