You sent me a beautiful scarf of soft wool,
so I wore it, looked at it
in the mirror and liked myself a little.
So I sent you a scarf, a thin little thing
of wispy yellow silk, and also, as a flourish,
a pair of thick gloves, as your hands were cold
and I wanted you to know
that I listened, and cared, about your hands.
Soon enough, a parcel from you.
Wrapped in tissue paper, a scarf, some gloves
and a green shirt with pearl buttons.
Laughing with pleasure, I wrapped up matches,
each of your gifts with one the same
and added a pair of sturdy leather boots with shiny toes.
Expensive, this game.
I wore all your gifts at once and waited,
standing by windows, checking
the doormat more often than reason allows.
I talked to you though you could not hear me.
I imagined you striding along in the boots I bought you,
I tried to guess the next, but I got it wrong.
I was thinking of dresses or perhaps a skirt,
but underneath the scarves gloves boots shirts
was a glossy coat of rich brown fur, purring
with pleasure at its own absurdity.
That time I had to sell the television.
I assembled my responses with delight
but also with dread. Which would be worse?
To be bankrupt and beaten, forced
Or be stuck with making last moves again,
sunken swaddled in a thick skin of love,
Waiting waiting for the post to come?