Apr/May 2017 Poetry

Doug's Boots

by Bob Bradshaw

Photographic image © 2017 Stuart Gelzer

Photographic image © 2017 Stuart Gelzer

Doug's Boots

His closet is filled with shirts
and coats whose pockets

hold scraps from his wanderings
through wildflower fields—

dry pods that rattle
when I shake them,

crumbs of seeds, fluted stems,
—the closet permeated

with the scents of coyote mint
and bee balm, whose leaves

we brewed in tea.
In the closet I breathe him

again. There is a hint
of tobacco, his pipe

in a vest, as always
within easy reach.

The phone's ringing
can't stir me to leave.

I do not wish to see friends.
How I hate the sentences

"I'm sorry for your loss;
if there's anything I can do to help..."

I do not want to start
a new life, to "move

forward." I want to stand
in this small space forever.

Because I can't,
I have placed Doug's boots,

worn, as haggard as I am,
by our bed—as if waiting

to be stepped


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