Dead man’s clothes by Ivan Donn Carswell
Growing up, I propose,
is like wearing a dead man’s clothes.
Death has a way of levelling the ground.
I have found the closer your relationship
the closer the fit;
the unsettling bit is the fear
of not fitting the role, or where
your forbear made a name or leashed
a reputation, which by imputation
of the clothes is yours as a crown, to wear
or not to wear, to possess or disown; whereas
I was first bequeathed a pair of shorts, a T shirt
and some thongs, items which rightly belonged
both to the man who was and the man to be,
though I had worn his suit before I reached
his height, and though I might pretend I was,
I never was that man despite the formal suit.
Today I use a woollen fishing jersey from
a man I hold in huge regard but sadly
now departed, a man whose friendship
touched my heart and with the most humble
respect I know
I gladly wear his clothes.
© I.D. Carswell