|I'd never seen cotton bolls before a trip we took to Houston.|
On our way home we stopped at the edge of this field,
where Carl cut some stalks for me. I still have them, in a vase.
Going through a closet,
I found one of Carl's old flannel shirts
hanging among my jackets.
Its subdued plaid - tan,
dark red and olive green,
reflected the outdoor style of the man.
The soft folds hold memories,
smells from his work, of smoke from bonfires,
and sawdust, or oil from an engine.
I held it against my face, then
wrapped myself in the nubby fabric
and lay on the bed for a while,
his scattered pheronomes
enveloping me one more time
in his strong embrace
where I'd often sought shelter,
safe from the toxic cunts
who ruled my office
and made my work such hell.
I got up, folded the shirt, and
returned it to the dark drawer,
where it lay, a carapace of the man
who protected me, who gave me courage.
A reminder of the love not gone,
just in another place.