When my mother was young, she was rich
So rich that her father bought her a coat
Straight from a well-known department store
At ten after closing time by knocking on the window
And shaking a hand full of money at the manager.
It was a prepossessing coat.
Georgia clay red with a furry collar.
When my mother got a little older, her family was poor
And her mother and her had to share a coat. One had to wait for the
other to come in, order to go out.
It was a hideous coat.
Dull, black like something a pallbearer would wear.
When mother passed away,
My sister and I quarrel over her belongings
One coat, particularly.
It was chic
camel-colored, cinching at the waist.
My father threw salt,
Saying it looked better on me
Through persistence, I won it.
She was a disguised, mostly silent woman.
What I know of my mother, I glean from thread.
A Whittenberg is a Philadelphia native who has a global perspective. If she wasn’t an author she’d be a private detective or a jazz singer. She loves reading about history and true crime. Her other novels include Sweet Thang, Hollywood and Maine, Life is Fine, Tutored and The Sane Asylum.