On Monday, I learned that a co-worker’s husband passed away. Today’s poem has something to do with Death — and the sadness of clothes when someone dies. Poet Emily Fragos is the author of Hostage: New & Selected Poems. The poem I shared below was originally published in Poem-a-Day by the Academy of American Poets.
Poetry Friday round-up is hosted today by Margaret at Reflections on the Teche!
The Sadness of Clothes
When someone dies, the clothes are so sad. They have outlived
their usefulness and cannot get warm and full.
You talk to the clothes and explain that he is not coming back
as when he showed up immaculately dressed in slacks and plaid
and had that beautiful smile on and you’d talk.
You’d go to get something and come back and he’d be gone.
You explain death to the clothes like that dream.
You tell them how much you miss the spouse
and how much you miss the pet with its little winter sweater.
You tell the worn raincoat that if you talk about it,
you will finally let grief out. The ancients etched the words
for battle and victory onto their shields and then they went out
and fought to the last breath. Words have that kind of power
you remind the clothes that remain in the drawer, arms
folded across the chest, or slung across the backs of chairs,
or hanging inside the dark closet. Do with us what you will,
they faintly sigh, as you close the door on them.
He is gone and no one can tell us where.