The headless mannequin surveys the back garden.
Today, she wears Balenciaga. Yesterday, Halston.
Tomorrow, Ossie Clarke.
Her empty sleeves are ruffs to the elbow.
Her three birch legs are wonky, prone to collapse.
Her neck is necklace-less, is capped
by a varnished plug of chestnut;
the grain is her fingerprint, her identifier.
Her waist cuts in, signifying she has never vegged out
on digestives to Supermarket Sweep,
has never borne children.
When I put out the light, she is still there
in the darkness, her vigil unceasing.
She will be the first to see the new dawn rise,
though it is of little use to her:
the dawn is the dawn is the dawn,
the light until the fade,
meaningless beside the promise of puffball skirts,
band t-shirts, gold-lamé boudoir gowns.
Craig Smith is a poet from Huddersfield. His writing has appeared on iambapoet and the Mechanics’ Institute Review, and in The North and The Interpreters’ House, among others. He is working toward an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University. Twitter: @clattermonger