Photograph by John Jackson

Photograph by John Jackson

The Holey

Tonight I dream an empty closet—
missing, sneakers I save for gardening,
holey T-shirts I won’t sacrifice
to rag sack, Red Wing boots,
beloved and scarred. And Goodwill
flannel blazer with bulging pockets,
just a wire hanger, bent and lonesome.
This morning the fragile and forlorn
tell our stories; how the years bump by,
and the old and used up, become sirens
of our shrunken odyssey? I awake
to find my closet full, tatters
rescued, sock holes intact.
A sense of loss lingers, as if clinging
to the worthless, a form of vanity.
Early March and snow patches comfort
forest shadows. A towhee sings her
morning song and scratches leaf mold
for forage. It’s easy to savor,
even cherish decay, how a rotten
log grows the greenest moss,
velveteen and finger fancy, how nostalgia
digests easier than the rush of the day.
Out the window, the world itself a closet,
sun breaks through a parade of clouds,
and spotlights weathered oak on my
neighbor’s barn. Across the road an
abandoned scarecrow remains crucified,
straw hat shading button eyes,
a penitent thief,  ready to confess.

— Bill Brown

Bill Brown will read a selection of his poetry at the Poet’s Corner at Scarritt-Bennett on May 22 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information please visit

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