Thomas McColl



Look at That!

‘Look at that!
a top hat on a tea pot,’
you shout,
as we stop just a little too close
to a china display in the shop
and, with a swipe of your hand,
you make a fat pot-headed Victorian gentleman
involuntarily doff his hat,
and a second later,
you realise why he doesn’t do that –
even though he’s Victorian
and you’re a lady
(albeit a little madam) –
when his hat
(which, foolishly,
he’d had made
out of posh china
rather than plush silk)
smashes into pieces on the floor.

And while you sob and sulk at the realisation,
I pay the bill for the damage,
while keeping an eye out,
as I’m carrying you,
that you don’t knock any
of the many
ornate objects
crowded round the till,
but instead your damned dinky destructive digit
starts prodding the top of my face,
and my invisible top hat
(which, foolishly,
I’d had made out of frayed nerves
rather than woven silk)
is once more pushed to the edge,
and once more
(just about)
remains in place.


Thomas McColl lives in London, and has had poems published in Envoi, Iota, Prole, Incubator Journal and previously in IS&T. His first full collection, Being With Me Will Help You Learn, is available from Listen Softly London Press.

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