The Jacket

(Poem by Wendy Howe )

(Somewhere along the waterfront)
Leather soft and tailored sleek, you wear
the skin of deer and the shade
of my hair tanned darkly golden
by the evening sun.

Half-zipped, your jacket keeps out
the sea wind and lets my shadow rest
on your shirt. We have walked the pier
at least a mile now and stand watching
each other as sea gulls stitch a pocket
of forsaken time around us.

Though strangers, we sense the familiar
hint of longing that haunts
the boy riding the seahorse in stone,
the oil rigs pitching their cranes
toward the wave. I might think
they are compass needles pointing
backward to years when another man
sported leather, a bomber's jacket scratched
and rumpled from use, its style breathing
through the same charcoal gray
his girlfriend sketched on paper. He wore the shade
of her talent, the warmth her face rubbed
on clothing issued for war. Head pressed
against his shoulder, they became a moment's soft
sculpture, perishable art where only feelings last --
creasing time, slipping through the wide sleeves
of sky and water. And as of now, so do we.

© 2011, Wendy Howe. E-mail.
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