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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.

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© Johnmichael Simon



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