Don't Give Me Anything by James Taylor
like a G-plan settee, toad-coloured,
made from iguanas, mottled with clumps
of green buttons and thin, wooden arms,
ribbed black edges that rub the back of your legs
when they hang over the front.
no green school caps, thin and floppy,
above the peak a badge that says, “Be Strong”
mocking a skinny frame, legs like pea canes,
curly hair and arms like sticks.
put me in hand-made green, crew-necked
sweaters, knitted into them, winter and summer,
a cocoon impossible to shed, woollen armour
to remind me who I belong to.
fool me into wearing my brother’s cast-off,
hairy, green sports coat, by being told it’s lovat,
passed down too soon it stops just above my knees,
sleeves so long I become an amputee.
a long time I've known what’s behind the green door,
it's no secret; very old people
with arrowroot biscuits, and the scent of mothballs.