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The Saturday poem: My Father's Wardrobe

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by Pascale Petit

In the late afternoon he begins his toilette
he has limestone pyjamas threaded with fossils,
a nightshirt of catacombs through which his dreams drip.
He has a dressing gown woven with petrol fumes, between
its folds
echo car-horns and the murmur of tourists.
He tries on the long rail of awakening suits.
He dresses from the quarries that built Paris.
He wears a cathedral cloak with chimera eyes.
His raincoat is stuccoed with sprouting gargoyles.
He has trousers that are stained-glass windows,
casting shadows like candied fruit as he walks.
His cravat is a knotted métro train,
one tie is an escalator, another a fountain
with Saint-Michel fighting Satan.
A carousel turns silently between his knees
and in it a boy is singing on a lacquered foal.
He has a shirt of hotel fronts
and a waistcoat of bridges under which bateaux mouches glide.
He emerges from the trapdoors of nightclubs
in a wedding suit of pavements that steam in the sun
and in it he marries the dawn.
He has a jacket made of wind-blown newspapers
and a cocktail suit of cigarette smoke
with balconies for pockets. Sometimes
he wears a suit of ash that scatters when he moves.

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