I have a cherished 1949 photograph of my little brother
and myself staring in wonder at a department store Santa,
each of us wearing a well-remembered tailored woolen
coat and matching hat, purchased from that same store.
My all-time favorite winter coat, a nubby navy chesterfield,
was irreparably damaged by smoke in a 1960 house fire
while the family visited our newlywed sister in Texas.
Several dry-cleanings could not remove the oily smell.
A later chesterfield, in logan green and cream tweed, was
stolen in 1986 out of our Corvette sports car, along with
its T-top skylight windows, in terrible January weather
during Chicago’s super bowl festivities. (I nearly froze!)
The mink jacket that replaced that missing coat has been
worn only half a dozen times in the twenty-five years
since its purchase, animal rights activists decreeing
all fur-bearers to be endangered species.
Now a long wool scarf wound around one’s neck makes
the skimpiest jacket suffice for cold weather. The youth
don’t even wear coats, skimpy tops and leggings rule a dash
between car and destination, only their electronics snuggled.
first published in The Rockford Review
also published in Illinois State Poetry Society
©2013 Bonnie Manion