Wednesday Poem



The shirts and shoes,
of course, the French cuffs,
double-buttoned cuffs.
The bowl of buttons,
spares that came
in little plastic baggies,
emptied and unused.
His first suit, his second suit,
all the suits he didn’t need
after losing the desk job
when I was twelve.
The sneakers. The lone pair
of oxfords I never
saw him wear. The holes
in the elbows of the flannels,
the patches patching the holes.
The shirts I’ll take with me,
the ties I’ll give away.
The ties with flowers,
with paisleys. The Tabasco ties,
the Looney Toons ties.
The too-big pants, bagged up
to send to Goodwill.
The fraying sweat shirt.
The new sweat shirt from
my college. The sweaters,
the wool and cotton sweaters,
the yarns in the sweaters,
the fibers spun and knitted
into the approximate shape
of a father. The yarns
that gradually return
to their original shape,
slowly forgetting his form.

by Jim Whiteside
Southern Review
Louisiana State University Press,
Volume 57, No. 1