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Shortlist Saturdays: Playing Dress-Up by Katie Cossette



Playing Dress-Up


When my grandmother passed, I inherited her wardrobe.

At any moment, I can be transported

through time and space.

When I bundle up in her long green trench coat,

my hair bound up in curlers,

fuzzy pink slippers warm my toes,

and an inky newspaper stains my fingers

as I wave to young Timmy on his 1962 Schwinn.

As it goes back on the hanger,

choppy strands of hair get in my eyes,

chipped blue toenails wink up at me,

and my tablet pings with low battery.

Kitten heels have me walking with grandpa,

a previously wrinkled hand firm and strong on my waist.

Black hats with delicate netting hide my face

as I weep for a woman I have never met

(but she was our age, Harold!)

Our wedding was a beautiful day,

creamy satin flowing down our waist like water.

Harry loves the lace detailing around my neck.

He whispers during our first dance,

‘I cannot wait to rip this off you.’


In my studio apartment I slow dance alone,

my grandfather’s warm breath still tickling my ear.

I think it’s time to stop playing dress-up.

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