The fabric smooth enough that tufts
of fur fall floor-wards with just
a casual downstroke of the paw.
By which I mean hand; human hand.
The lining crimson as a slashed throat.
I do apologise: a tasteless simile.
But still: the charcoal grey of the jacket
gusted back on an autumn street
and that flash of deep red – profound
red – well, sir, the effect will turn heads,
set the heart of the fashionista
beating faster, divert the dandy
to his tailor’s place of business,
a whole wardrobe of fine garments
ordered on account. Which is as
it should be. If I may take the liberty,
sir, clothes maketh the man –
manners manage a distant second.
The cut and the line, the fold
of the cloth. Thus are we set apart
from the beast. Temporarily, at least.
The craftsmanship is in the stitching,
how it withstands the stretch and strain
of muscle and skin in thrall to the change.
Neil Fulwood is the co-editor, with David Sillitoe, of the anthology More Raw Material: work inspired by Alan Sillitoe. His poetry has featured in The Morning Star, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, International Times and Ink, Sweat and Tears. His debut collection, No Avoiding It, is forthcoming from Shoestring Press in 2017.