by Ralph Monday
Cleaning out the belongings of the dead
is supposed to be therapeutic, a Dr. Phil
healing, closure needed to be whole.
Going through my uncle's belongings
brought forth the same emptiness as
a recently excavated Roman urn.
His sweaters, blue jeans, dress pants
neatly hung in the closet as though he
had only went to the hardware store for
some nails, screws, a coke pulled ice cold
from an old fashioned machine. A real
coke, flavored with sugar, quality product
the way his World War II generation was
the real deal.
Even after a year the clothes still held his
scent, the way that a rejected lover longily
pines for one last caress. I carried them
to the truck. The faded fabric became a
Necromancer—live or Memorex—and I
rode with him through the Michigan forests,
waded in the stream casting flies for trout.
Only for a time, only for a magician's illusion
where swirling smoke would never suffice, and
permanence promised by the cross he cherished
is like the dry, plastic flowers boxed up for
Goodwill, brittle, never real, left for the collecting
lady in the back of a cluttered store. Put out on
racks for strangers to wear, themselves alien
to the tender mercies that would one day rummage
through mothballed closets.