Alone in my Parents' Closet
#1
Alone in my parents’ closet,
looking up at my father’s work shirts
and denim.
Bookended by a single suit
and a sport coat. 

Beneath them, a pair of well worn white New Balance
a pair of Oxford dress shoes
and a pair of size-zip Chelsea Boots. 
I had never seen my father wear them, and, 
Though I couldn’t have known it at the time,
I never would. 

For years, they remained
at the bottom of the closet
a sleek, chiseled anomaly set against a background of J.C. Penny flannels. 

Once, my father surely owned
the clothes to match. 
Such a boot makes
certain demands. 

Had he polished them before a night at the local
where he shared a cigarette 
(years after he quit)
with a redhead who reminded him of his first wife? 

Did he grind out the last of the ashes 
with a leather heel 
before helping her into his car? 

Had he ever danced with my mother in those boots? 

One day, they were gone. 
Years later, they were replaced with tassel loafers-
also black. 

Shortly before the heart attack, I watched them
dance to big band music on a cruise ship
off the Florida coast. 
His loafers slid over the dance floor;
he paused only to put an arm
around my mother 
when a photographer asked them to smile.
"What I want in poetry is a kind of abstract photography of the nerves, but what I like in photography is the poetry of literal pictures of the neighborhood." -John Koethe
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#2
(09-22-2022, 03:08 AM)ZHamilton Wrote:  Alone in my parents’ closet,
looking up at my father’s work shirts
and denim.
Bookended by a single suit
and a sport coat. 

Beneath them, [line break here] a pair of well worn white New Balance
a pair of Oxford dress shoes
and a pair of size-zip Chelsea Boots. 
I had never seen my father wear them, and,   those boots
Though I couldn’t have known it at the time,
I never would. 

For years, they remained
at the bottom of the closet
a sleek, chiseled anomaly set against a background of J.C. Penny flannels. 

Once, my father surely owned
the clothes to match. 
Such a boot makes
certain demands. 

Had he polished them before a night at the local
where he shared a cigarette 
(years after he quit)
with a redhead who reminded him of his first wife? 

Did he grind out the last of the ashes 
with a leather heel 
before helping her into his car? 

Had he ever danced with my mother in those boots? 

One day, they were gone. 
Years later, they were replaced with tassel loafers-
also black. 

Shortly before the heart attack, I watched them
dance to big band music on a cruise ship
off the Florida coast. 
His loafers slid over the dance floor;
he paused only to put an arm
around my mother 
when a photographer asked them to smile.    If there was some way to come back to the boots/closet in these final lines, I think that might be a better ending.

Hi Z,

My main suggestion would be to shorten this down to the essential.  Thus, I did some ruthless cutting, but you could accomplish the same in your own way, maybe condensing some the scenes to a bare minimum, such as the stanzas about his night out at the local.

TqB
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
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