‘Stolen Coat’ by Lane Ashfeldt

Aged seventeen

I wore scraps rummaged

from Granny’s wardrobe.

A scratchy shift dress

of cloth woven

at Douglas Woollen Mills,

smart long ago, now giving off

questionable signals.



And for a time, an army coat

from the charity shop.

Whose army I do not know,

the coat of some

half-cut boy who should

have stayed home,

but would not miss out

on the thrill of war.



I remember the cold

that night. Snug in my

stolen coat of many pockets

until one of the lads talked

me out of it, distracting me

while his friend shrugged it on.

Once he had it round him

there was no return.



A freezing wind blew uphill from

the Lee and keeled into me.

Time to leave, cold or no.

It was never really mine

that young soldier’s coat,

I could not pay its price

but had to have it. And now,

like him, I had to let it go.



on_the_banksLane Ashfeldt is a short fiction writer whose stories have appeared in a number of anthologies and literary journals. A collection of her stories, SaltWater, is published by Liberties Press, Dublin. ‘Stolen Coat’, appears in the anthology of poems and songs about Cork City, On The Banks, edited by Alannah Hopkin (The Collins Press).


© Lane Ashfeldt, 2016. Banner image © Jo Mazelis, 2016.