Catskin

by Laura Marsh

I am old now
and I have lost all my teeth.

I remember my oiled catskin,
the mousey smell of it, the scarfing nape of it
and the girlish shame of passing kittens and gentlemen in the street.

I tried it on again once
and I was glad you didn’t look
to see that I preferred it to everything.
To gooseflesh and to mutton.

Once I caught you too,
staring back at yourself in the mirror
on the landing, drawing your hair in front of your eyes,
thinking about growing it long, like it was when we met.
And then we both wondered when it was
that I stopped being beautiful.

Every day since I have longed for my catskin,
to be inside it, to do the washing up in it
and to lie in it on the sofa;
to shrink it two sizes down
and to spill out of it
and to say with mangey fur

I am old now
and I have lost all my teeth.