Poem A Day Prompt: Write a poem about AUTHORITY

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Is natural authority learned, earned or innate? I don’t know, ask this cat. His name’s Toffee. – Nottingham Kitty Cafe, April, 2016.

The Authority Suit

I found it at a flea market
on a bright cold Saturday.

A gleaming, peach monstrosity:
not my style at all.
Perhaps a size too big
or a size too small.

But not a blemish on it.
And only £50.
And the vendor crowed that
it was worth a grand.

I have the eyes
of a magpie
and the grace
of a magpie.

So I took it.
Cash in hand.

The first day I wore it
was a confetti of compliments.
I bought new tights
and wore six foot heels
accessorised
with the confidence
of a cuckoo.

That night
I undressed
in the temple of
myself
and hung
the peach monstrosity
with abject reverence
a shroud
over my former
wardrobe.

I walked on a cloud
for a week.

No one questioned
the suit in re-use:
it was rude
to look the suit
straight in the eye.
It was frowned upon
to speak
in more than
hushed whispers.

Once, a passer by
implored me for the time:
the suit laughed like a drain
and kicked dust in his eye
for the imposition.

But.

That Saturday
I decided to wash her.
She had started to smell,
and bore a baked bean stain.

But I know as much
about laundry
as a magpie.

Only the best, I thought,
for my Authority Suit,
and I cleansed her
in the restorative waters
of the 80 degree cycle
with bath towels
for cushioning.

(And because I needed
to wash my bath towels).

She recovered, sure.
She was resilient like that.
But a size too small now,
and fraying.
Pilling in places
and a sag
in her hem.

Passers by still turned away
but less now in reverence –
more collective shame
at the fall of an emperor.
At the laddered tights
and the sags and frays

of a queen
who’d outlived
her reign.

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