A shock to see it, sleeves creased and sagged to his shape

as if he would return to wear it.

Forgotten in the downstairs cupboard I suppose

When I sorted his stuff for the charity shop.


I took to wearing it out of doors; it smelled of him and the

pockets were deep.

Thrusting fingers into their depths, I probed in corners

picking up flecks of fluff and dust from the past

that clung to my nails for dear life.


It was weeks before I found the inside pocket and the letter

– he wouldn’t think I’d poke in there –

saying “dearest”, “beloved” and

“you are my life”.


No one to care now that what cannot

be borne is fingering these

fragments of a life

torn apart.


On the corner of the page her kisses shrivel

strands of scorched yarn sizzle and

in the flames of the pyre

my rage burns.


Lost to us both now

the letter

the coat


Jane Dobson

Published in The Times, February 2010