Black Jacket

March 26, 2011
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I remember;
A black jacket, reeking of smoke,
like cigarettes sewn into the leather.

Dad’s back,
he’s come home late again.
The garage door opens with a squeal,
neglected hinges crying for oil,
but Dad doesn’t have time.
There’s work to do tomorrow.
He stabs a kiss
as tender as a woodpecker
on Mom’s cheek,
thumps me on the head hard enough
to crack my teeth together,
shrugs off his black jacket,
and tosses it at a chair
as he heads for the bed.
Mom’s eyes stare into Dad’s back,
searching for a love that’s dwindling
like smoke from a cigarette butt,
but her silent pleading,
louder than a rusty hinge,
goes unnoticed.
Dad keeps on moving,
he has to get to sleep.
There’s work to do tomorrow.
As Dad leaves,
his black jacket slips from the chair.
Mom kneels next to the fallen jacket,
cradles it to her chest,
brings the smoky leather to her lips,
and receives a kiss,
as sweet as ash.
Mom makes a tiny noise,
a small cry almost lost in the leather,
but it sounds like the wail
of a rusty hinge
to me.





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