Thursday, May 20, 2010

Jacket by Miles Liss

I have a jacket
That my mother gave me
After my grandfather died
I don't know how she got her hands on it
They must have gone
Through his stuff
The aunts and uncles
And I came out
With the jacket
Or maybe my grandmother said,
"Here, take this. Give it
To your son."
I don't know

I do know
I've had it
Since he's been dead
Thirteen years now
And though I've
Gained a pound
For every year
Despite going to the gym
It still fits me.
"Your grandfather was heavy, too,"
My mother says.
"When he went on a diet,
He ate nothing but carrots
All day.
Try them. You might like them."

I remember breaking
The zipper
And my stepfather making
A new one
From a strip of leather
And some string
He's gone now, too
But that stip of leather
Still holds

It's a winter jacket
So I put it in the
Closet every spring
And forget about it
Until the winter
When it comes out again
And I am, again,
Reminded of my

I can see him now
Sitting in his
Watching TV with
Or driving me
Around St. Louis
He loved to drive
Felt at home behind
The wheel

Once, when we were
In the car together,
He said, "I want to
Live long enough
To dance at my grandson's
I didn't know what
He was talking about
I was too young to
Comprehend mortality,
But Grandpa, you
Live through this jacket
Each and every day
I wear it
And I promise
To bring it to
My wedding, if
I ever should get
Married, and

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