Perched like a kingfisher on a broken stool
a balancing act on 3 legs, one leg missing.
Peering into a mirror as flat as a lake
fixed in the contemplation of my complexion.
Constricted in the arms by too tight sleeves
a Butterwick pattern with a rick rack neck.
Hair pulled back by elastic and grips
off-white socks cover purple patches.
My aunt’s second-best jewellery box
a treasure trove of cast-off delights.
Paste broches sparkle and shimmer
grown up clip-ons leave dents behind.
Millefiori beads like gobstopper sweets
a thousand stars pressed into a barrel.
Ballast the ship's hold before replacing with live cargo
weighs down my neck with a coolness of touch.
Marcasite set rings that fracture the light
fake diamonds worn to mourn the dead.
Bunches of glass grapes taste musty and cold
squash the flesh of my earlobe and pinch very tight.
Paisley paste necklace with a broken clasp
interlocking teardrops imitate Cleopatra’s hoard.
All piled around my neck my jewels in the crown
catching tints off the single lightbulb above.