Army Blanket

You’ve wheedled your way back in again haven’t you
like storm silt, coarse as Herdwick (and almost as old)
from the pile of linen bound for recycle on the landing.

Each time I pass I fold you like a lover’s jumper determined
to let you go – for someone else to hold, entrench new memories.
I squeeze the heavy weave and read again

the white and red hand-stitched label – a name
ricochets distant fields, comrades, mud-swamped
their night blood un-rationed to these dark threads

but I only guess at this. I know my father carried you home
to keep me safe from winters, and I smuggled you out in summers
to lie under pines held in the palm of a brilliant sky.

Into the starless vacuum of black plastic I stare, now wondering
why instead I wanted to buy a fluffy synthetic bed-cover
that weighs nothing in the scheme of things.

Kerry Darbishire