Clothes Make The Man

In charcoal hand he jots all dimension,
this merchant of befores and afters.

Dust clumps on the hollow skulls
of his mannequins,

shedded sleeve-tags
lie in a litter of failed metric.

Final suits for send-offs
require an eye down to the lining.

Rails of clothes bristle,
awaiting their bodies

as the sharp coil of his tape measure retracts,
a lizard tongue to its trap.

Buttons up into the evening and can feel
the days ahead coming on him

like an unseamed thread
that you pull and you pull.

Published in 'Rosebud'