A new selection from Having Listened by Gary Whited, winner of the 2013 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize and the Benjamin Franklin Award Sliver Medal. Having Listened is now available wherever books are sold, including Amazon, B&N and on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo formats.  Visit our Store»

 

 

 

 

My Blue Shirt

 

Hangs in the closet

of this small room, collar open,

sleeves empty, tail wrinkled.

 

Nothing fills the shirt but air

and my faint scent. It waits,

all seven buttons undone,

 

button holes slack,

the soft fabric with its square white pattern,

all of it waiting for a body.

 

It would take any body, though it knows,

in its shirt way of knowing, only mine,

has my shape in its wrinkles,

 

my bend in the elbows.

Outside this room birds hunt for food,

young leaves drink in morning sunlight,

 

people pass on their way to breakfast.

Yet here, in this closet,

the blue shirt needs nothing,

 

expects nothing, knows only its shirt knowledge,

that I am now learning—

how to be private and patient,

 

how to be unbuttoned,

how to carry the scent of what has worn me,

and to know myself by the wrinkles.