Sensing Mother

Dad keeps Mum’s favourite dress
deep in the bottom of the ottoman.
Sometimes, when he is at work
I stand listening to the tick of the clock
then go upstairs.

And propping up
the squeaky wooden lid, I dig through
layers of rough, winter blankets
feeling for that touch of silk.
The blue whisper of it, cool
against my cheek.

Other times – the school-test times,
and dad-gets-home-too-late
to-say-goodnight times –
I wrap the arms of the dress around me,
breathing in a smell, faint as dried flowers.

I remember how she twirled around
– like a swirl of sky.
When I am old enough I will wear it.
Pulling up the white zip,
I’ll laugh and spin,
calling out to my daughter:
How do I look?



from If You Could See Laughter (Salt, 2010), © Mandy Coe, 2010, used by permission of the author and Salt Publishing

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3Round and Round

5Being Human

6Felt Funny All Day

7Wishes for You

8Schooldays End


10What Lives Down the Playground Drain


12Night Night

13Advice for Ponies

14Being the Baddie

15Bottling It Up

16Beyond the Farmyard Gate

17Recipe for Good News

18In My Name

19Row Flow Blow


21Sensing Mother

22Sun Loves Moon

23Hey-la Liverpool

24Marsh Sprite


26The Gift

27Busy Feet

28Questions for a Dad

29The Head's First Name

30The Sunshine of Susan Brown

31From the Mouths of Babes

32My Ma

33Music's Prayer

34Dream Feast


36Me and You

37Queen of the Hive


39Too Young to Understand

40Too Poor for Shoes


42Whiskers for Gold

42Whiskers for Gold

43The Girl Who Discovered Fire

44The Can-can

45The Spirits of Books

46If You Could See Laughter

47Elemental Rules


50Thank You

51Soft as the Blanket

52Flowers Go to School Underground

53Upon Once

54In Bed Sick


56Lost It, Found It