The Fine Winter Coat
My mother was small, four feet eleven on a good day,
Made smaller by an aging spine. When she was younger,
She made her own clothes, better to fit into, but shoes,
That was another matter and a good winter coat, forget it.
So, when my brother and his feckless wife breezed through;
He taking her to study for a new career in New York,
She told mom that she’d bring her a fine new coat
That would fit just right. Mom eagerly believed her.
Then, six months later, just before Christmas time,
They came sailing through going back to Nashville.
Mom was excited. She eagerly awaited the gift
She knew was coming. The new coat, the warm coat.
And they gave her a sweater. A dumb damn sweater.
Mom was older then and the disappointment showed
So clearly that the heat drained away from me.
Betrayed. Like a kid under the Christmas tree
Looking askance at, not a doll, but some socks.
My brother saw it, too, but his wife nattered on
About New York and so forth and so on.
My brother tried to jolly mom along, but, no.
It was done and they left and mom almost cried.
I hurt for her hurt. But, I thought, that’s what
You get for believing and for being that trusting.
Years before, when mom asked two skeevy men
To rent a truck and take it and me to another town
To pick up all the family furniture we’d stored there
When we moved. They brought me back but, then,
Left with the furniture. All of it. All of her life.
Later, the policeman, kindly, but truthfully, told her
“You were very gullible, ma’am.”