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Featured Poem: V2,I4 - The Grey Coat



The Grey Coat

It was abuse, too much to ask, that coat,

my mom’s nice woolen cut to boyish size:

a collar, too gray, too thick, no hood, too short.

Kids laughed at me in church. I thought I’d die.

On Mom it had been perfect: gloves, a hat,

a “look”. But worn by me it “sissy” cried.

Endured it, then decreed, “That’s all she wrote,”

and red-faced bore the rain of Mother’s chides.

One night, I passed a man in woolen gray.

Just new in town, I aped his coat, his hat.

Now grown, for show I’d bear the mockery.

But no one laughed and through the years that coat

was armor up the corporate hierarchy,

its pockets filled with sweets she’d left for me.


Bruce E. Whitacre



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Love the central symbolism of the poem “Grey Coat”. The expectations of the persona conforming to gender norms and society’s mockery, the irony of what the mother feels seems adequate and what the speaker feels is not. Nice social commentary.

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