I’m Homesick for being Homesick

Julian Stannard
| poetry

It’s time to dress up
in the clothes of the dead
is what mother said
when she’d spent the afternoon
making chicken stock.

I wore my father’s yellow socks
and my brother’s moleskin trousers
and I lowered two feet into my
sister’s husband’s elongated
boots—the ones that marched back
from Moscow on their own.

I popped on a shirt worn by
an uncle who hanged himself
and I put into my pocket a couple of
linen handkerchiefs belonging
to the gamekeeper before he walked
over a cliff—and here’s the hat which
sat so well on Jacob’s head.

And a coat worn by Lt. Colonel Catastrophe
before he keeled over with
an attack of charisma and don’t forget
the scarf, my mother says, as she
drapes it around my neck.

It’s chucking down.
Oh good! I gather the lurchers,
the smooth-haired lurchers
and stride across the heath.

Julian Stannard is the author of three collections. His most recent is The Parrots of Villa Gruber Discover Lapis Lazuli (Salmon, 2011).

The Street of Measuring Scales
A History of Ghosts