I carry them around
these old clothes and memories
my closet creaks with them
muffled, shoulder to shoulder, smelling of mothballs.
Double-breasted suits with extra buttons
folded handkerchiefs in top pockets reminding
of Jacaranda avenues, first dates, tuxedos, restaurants
And funerals, the expected and the sudden
hanging side by side.
Look, here’s a hanger crowded with old ties
silk flashes, reds and blues, diagonals and
floral patterns, some stained with
shamefaced thoughts and longings
others never worn.
Deep in recesses hide the shoes
piled together in nose-turning fragrance.
Remember how I walked ten miles to buy cigarettes?
How it was raining when I returned to find
your bed unmade, your face a misty cloud
your voice a distant jukebox playing
that same old dusky tune.
There are no clothes here that recall your presence;
those cotton prints you used to wear when shopping
those mud-stained overalls you wore when gardening
all gone – given away. Perhaps you never were,
perhaps we never dangled sleeve to sleeve
cheek to cheek.
It’s hard to tell these days, the memories from the fantasies
one gets so used to them, these crumpled old clothes
so difficult to throw away, to forget.