draft and sew

A collar is like a father
it has to be made separately
drafted, cut then sown onto the larger garment
it must be pre-washed and dried,
trimmed then ironed before attachment
so as not to shrink or misshape the shirt.
In the picture I am mis-remembering
we are on a bridge all dressed in white for our family’s funeral
my father in a collarless shirt, crisp, well ironed
all the grief he’d yet to visit buttoned up, but casual.
Nicknamed the Father killer for its rigidity,
the removable collar was invented by an 1820s housewife
wanting to lessen her laundry load,
the trend eventually went out of fashion
but I’d argue a detachable father has its perks
for example in this old photo
we are on a bridge all six of us embracing
resting on one another the way love insists you do,
always wanting to touch a part of who you need.
How much easier it would be
to unbutton him from my memory,
push what’s keeping him clasped to the image
out of two neat holes
drop him gently into the lonely river beneath

Poem by Remi Graves, commissioned by Poet in the City, University of Liverpool and Loughborough University as part of Poets in Vogue.