Thursday, February 16, 2012


artwork: ralph murre

by John L. Campbell

Dead men’s clothes haunt my closet,
Dick’s sport coat, Paul’s slacks,
and Grant’s sweaters, Art’s high
winter boots hang in the garage.
Widows never give me anything,
they offer to my wife, a go-between,
with words like, Maybe this’ll fit.

I often wear a blue whachamacallit,
a pullover with half-zipper front,
once worn by my friend, Grant.
He didn’t give it to me,
his widow gave it to my wife,
and my wife said, Try this on,
and I asked, Where’d you get this?
And she said, It was Grant’s – nice
fit, so I wear it while walking,
which makes me think of Grant.

The day he died, I crept out, left
his room, unable to watch him
shake, tossing in bed, out of it,
trying his best to die with dignity,
me, angry, cursing sotto voce,
asking if God was on holiday,
and our wives chatted on and on,
as though we were just visiting.

~ first published in PLAINSONGS