Before The Mirror

Paul pulls a coat on over one shoulder.
Then the other shoulder.

It is a frock coat.
Dark blue dyed wool fibers.

As frock coats are designed to do
it reaches his knees.

As he pushes brass buttons through buttonholes
he contemplates the word frock.

One. A woman’s or girl’s dress.
Two. A long gown with flowing sleeves worn by monks.

Three. A field labor’s smock.
Four. Short for frock coat.

He pushes the last button through its hole.
His fingers feel the letters US embossed in the brass.

He imagines his coat made from a flowery dress
found at a retail shop.

But that would be cotton most likely.
Wool is important and historically accurate.

He imagines McClellen in a frock coat
made from a girl’s flowery dress.

He smiles at his own wickedness.
Imagines McClellen reviewing the Army of the Potomac

in a flowery frock coat with an officer’s red sash
his belt and scabbard holding his dress sword.

Imagine the gold braided epaulettes on each shoulder.
Imagine the troops in blue trying not to snicker passing in parade.

Paul’s reason for dressing up is not reenacting Valverde.
But a cattle call for a movie part.

His frock coat has a captain’s infantry blue shoulder boards.
The movie part is a simple cavalry trooper.

He will deal with the fact he has not ridden a horse in decades
if he gets the bit part.

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