You come home to a half-full wardrobe,
Dirty laundry on the floor, hamper overflowing
With clothes that aren’t yours.
In the wardrobe hanging there are twelve shirts,
None of them your size, and sweaters
That you’re going to wear some nights
Although they swamp you, gown-like,
Just to feel close to someone, to live in a time
You lost when you lost him.
And there are socks, and underwear, dozens
Of pairs of each, luxurious soft but destined
For the fabric slaughterhouse, a cutting end
To every stitch and thread, a life unspooled.
And you’ll keep your own wardrobe, obviously,
And some day some other other man’s attire
Will hang from the same steel bar, a smaller fit
For a smaller, better fit. Where will those
Twelve shirts hang then? Will you keep them
Under your bed, or in the spare bedroom?
Will you burn every printed pattern just to feel
Lighter? The clothes and every memory will live
And die with you, costume couture.
He hangs up twelve shirts freshly ironed,
None of them your size; he isn’t gone yet
And still has clothes left to live in, idling outfits.
He’s lying in bed watching you undress,
Watching you drape jeans over the headboard
With your phone reflected on your face, and he
Is wondering what would happen to his clothes
Without him there to wear them. You
Are the only one who would notice them,
All those empty shirts left alone, left forlorn,
A crevice in the bed, an absence in the air.
He waits for you to crawl in next to him,
To warm him up, to take his mind off the prospect,
The shirts that hang like hollow men.