A dressmaker goes through the Archway of Tears* : first published in CopperBird One (2017)

One step from there, to be stripped and disinfected here,
but they cannot take from you all that you were…
You find a doll, scraps of moss-green cotton, thread,
and your fingers begin to tack, seam, dart and hem,
set tiny sleeves, even trim the neck,
because a good doll needs a modest dress.
Then from courtyard straw you weave a tiny hat
and round it tie a matching bow, but know that
something else is needed to lift the confection
and passing the warden’s room you see them—
feathers from her parrot fluttering to floor;
hat-trim of blue from a far-foreign shore.

* The ‘Archway of Tears’ was the name given to the entrance of the former Birmingham Union Workhouse