The Smoking Jacket

by Dermot J. Archer

The Smoking Jacket
       for my Mother

Sometimes very early when the cold bruises the bone
my hand still reaches out for that smoking jacket,
still kept and still as eye-burgling —
Carnaby Street sixties tailoring merely a skelly
in contrast to your exquisite layering.

Woven wool the colour of hibernating heathers
in a Donegal winterscape, darker
where roots dig into peat, the lining
harebell blue, a harbinger of other days
as if Irish weather might turn itself inside-out.

My childhood delivered excitement to a scatter of envelopes
from Simplicity, Me Calls, Vogue, Butterick, adult jigsaws;
for years I watched you futter with paper wrinkles
aged somewhere between cigarette paper and tracing paper massaged onto a tabula rasa.

Scissors cutting, tailors’ hard-chalk stencilling
always left you with lips magically dispensing
to pin the pattern; they put me in mind now
of a pincushion or the pierced lips of a least angry punk,
music more melodious when my organist
finally pedals the Singer.

Dancing on the head of a pin?
You’re too busy sewing rainbows, sunsets.

That accidental tear in the pocket I later made
invisibly mended by you, light as threads in a spider’s web,
isn’t the only presence lost to the eye.