'Evening in Paris' (Poetry Monthly)
Tue, 12 Apr 2016
Camden Lock, doing the junk shop rounds...a friend and me, an hour or so to kill. Found a vintage Dolcis shoebox – black patent stilettos still inside. Closed my eyes. It was 1952. There was me, aged five, tottering round the kitchen in my mother’s brand-new ones. Another brilliant find – a compact just like the one she’d carried in her handbag, with its pretty silvered lid. She’d undone it with her perfectly fancy nails, but I bit mine, so took to prizing it off with a knife, and taking a long, deep sniff of that blush coloured dust so patted a smidgeon on my nose; home alone as I was, most every night. The shop about to close as I finger. wistfully, a small blue glass bottle, labelled ‘Evening in Paris’, by Bourjois; her favourite perfume, along with White Fire. Undoing its crude glass stopper, no genie inside, only she – preening herself in front of a mirror over the cooker; a splash behind each ear and a dab on each wrist, dressed up to the nines. Don’t get the wrong impression, though. I don’t miss her; at least, no more now, than then.