Exact Fits Make Me Superstitious


The fusty pinstriped suit jackets of larger men
are sagging the racks. Stretch full length in one until
your ears surge and still your fingertips won’t reach
out of the sleeves. Best to exert yourself now,

stir up that unmistakable funk always dormant
in a hand-me-down: once you’ve paid that’s that.
The phantom pit-stain in the herringbone’s indelible –
You awaken obituaries written in smell.

Natural to be superstitious of exact fits,
also the thought that what you’re wearing today
will end up here. I’d suggest sewing tokens of yourself
into the lining while you can. Read by your nose

which article’s cat-haunted, which by the man
who pushed the yellow wheelbarrow on its rickety trindle
up a gangplank, redolent of foggy maltings and wharves;
who preferred his tobacco one puff at a time then left

it to stink extinguished in the plaid breast pocket.
Two identical big man overcoats, surely cast off
by twin piano carriers. They never got on.
One swore by folk Dylan, the other liked his Christian stuff.

Dean Browne won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2021 and his pamphlet, Kitchens at Night (2022), was a winner of the Poetry Business International Pamphlet Competition.
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