I crept the three steps
to your room, which smelt
of musty aged breath
and butterfly panic.
Sandwiched between the glass
and a chink in the net curtains,
a Red Admiral, whose fluttering
mirrored my tiptoed approach.
I stumbled over slippers
to your jewelry box, fished out
pearls and the ruby ring that swam
off my finger and dropped back home
into knotty chains and clip-on earrings.
Brooches from another life
paid for, with dollars
to pin on collars of real fur.
Sparkles and hallmarks
piled up, a pyramid displaced
in this fisherman’s cottage.
You called me for lunch,
puffing upstairs, flapping by
in a flour cloud, your dentures clapping
a slow applause, making a tumble of your speech.
Waiting for the tart to cook as it bubbled under
with home grown apples, we sat impatient
as cinnamon, allspice, and cloves wafted in droves
from the little scullery.
You promised a tomorrow slice
as the Ford Orion arrived
early with your daughter,
to take me home.
A version of “Dressing Up” was previously published in The Honest Ulsterman (October 2015) and in From Doll House Windows.
Lorraine Carey is an Irish poet and artist. She is widely published in journals including Poetry Ireland Review, Orbis, Black Bough, The Honest Ulsterman, Willawaw, Prole, Smithereens, and on Poethead. Lorraine’s poems have been chosen for several anthologies. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her art and photography have featured in many journals. Her debut collection is From Doll House Windows (Revival Press).