CaBloWriMo: Letter to a Cow


You were old when I met you, and now you are older still. Before that, I am aware, you were a cow, and for that I am sorry.

Not for your being a cow, you understand – I would hate to come across as bovinist. Some of my best friends used to be cows. Before I knew them, I mean. Everybody gets a little ruminatory sometimes.

I’m referring more to the fact that by the time we met, you were a leather jacket.

And a rather fine one, I might add – almost made for a cash-strapped wannabe punk on the verge of leaving for university and sick of being dressed in hand-me-downs. On a whim I wandered into an antiques shop and there you were, buried beneath broken Victrolas and cribbage boards, scowling at the caress of feather boas and faded orange cardigans. You fit me like a trench coat should, and you became mine.

Through rain and shine I froze in you and sweated, until few people could honestly say that they had ever seen one without the other. And we changed each other, too: you pulled back my shoulders and smoothed my vertebrae straight, so school friends would swear I’d grown inches.

As I grew younger, you aged. The buttons were first to go; today, only three remain. Your shoulders grew deep scars from a succession of cheap backpacks filled with books whose contents flitted through my brain and out the other side like fireflies. Your spine grew creased at the dogged persistence of Great British drizzle. And with each crinkle and dent, I loved you all the more.

When I came away, I brought you with me. You do not thrive here, but, selfishly, I made you come all the same. Sickly in summer, useless in winter, now is your time to shine.

My leather coat and me

The tomb of the unknown cow


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