Closet Meditation

I’m afraid half my shirts are frayed.
Yet I can’t throw them out.
Even the torn one stays. You never know
when you might need to do a messy job:
unstop a drain or grout the bathroom floor.
Other shirts are almost new.
They’re for the days
I’ll have to give a lecture or
sit for a TV interview.
(There’ve been none recently that I recall.)
Mostly I’m here alone. I write.
I wouldn’t have to wear a shirt at all.
And yet it sets a tone –
but what’s the tone I want today? I might
decide a shirt of bold design
wouldn’t be bad
so that perhaps (if you dropped in)
you’d like the plaid and never see
the loosening threads, the early signs
of imminent decay that would remind
you just how surreptitiously
all our wraps can fall away.

Jan Schreiber

Jan Schreiber

Jan Schreiber was Poet Laureate of Brookline, Massachusetts from 2015 to 2017. His books include Digressions (1970), Wily Apparitions (1992), Bell Buoys (1998), and Peccadilloes (2014), as well as two books of translations: A Stroke upon the Sea and Sketch of a Serpent. A cycle of his poems, Zeno’s Arrow, was set to music by Paul Alan Levi in 2001. His criticism has been widely published and was collected in his book Sparring with the Sun (2013). He teaches in the BOLLI program at Brandeis University and runs the annual Symposium on Poetry Criticism in Gunnison, Colorado. His new chapbook, Bay Leaves, was recently published by Kelsay Books.
Jan Schreiber

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Author: Jan Schreiber

Jan Schreiber was Poet Laureate of Brookline, Massachusetts from 2015 to 2017. His books include Digressions (1970), Wily Apparitions (1992), Bell Buoys (1998), and Peccadilloes (2014), as well as two books of translations: A Stroke upon the Sea and Sketch of a Serpent. A cycle of his poems, Zeno’s Arrow, was set to music by Paul Alan Levi in 2001. His criticism has been widely published and was collected in his book Sparring with the Sun (2013). He teaches in the BOLLI program at Brandeis University and runs the annual Symposium on Poetry Criticism in Gunnison, Colorado. His new chapbook, Bay Leaves, was recently published by Kelsay Books.