Thomas McColl: My First Love

When I was three,
I fell in love with a female showroom dummy,
which stood with two others
on the first floor
of a major department store
in Birmingham city centre.

She was wearing a wig and dark glasses,
but I didn’t mind at all
that she was bald and had no eyes,
for she was fun and up for a laugh,
hiding me under her dress
as Mum went round in a panic
wondering where it was I’d got to,

and she didn’t flinch –
when, first, I clasped my arms around her leg
(allowing me to gently caress
my cheek against the smooth plastic flesh
that felt so ice-cool and fresh)
and, then, when a member of staff
looked up her dress.

My mum, though, wasn’t impressed,
and didn’t seem to understand
when I tried to express,
as she dragged me along,
how much I wanted to bring the model home.

How could she understand a three year old
who’d only just learned to speak in sentences
and couldn’t express himself much more
than the showroom dummies
who couldn’t speak at all?

And when I looked behind me from the door,
my showroom dummy had her hands stretched out
as if to take me back,
but couldn’t come to my rescue
for both her feet were nailed to the floor.