I favor second-hand and consignment shops, partly for the bargains, but also for the little bit of extra history clothing that has been worn by another human being holds. Even if I do not know the people or the stories, I like how clothes that others have lived in now fit me just right. I have some things of my father’s that still smell a little like him, even seven years later. And because of those leather jackets and wool sweaters, he is not quite gone. The grandfather I hardly knew becomes a little bit known to me when I slip on his old gray sweater. Just clothes, we might say, easily acquired and easily passed on. Or we appreciate the comfort of an old sweater on a chilly morning all the more.


I reach for it in the dark closet and imagine

you wore it on cool evenings, taking the dogs

out, and maybe mornings on your walks

to the temple.  You held the children, my

mother, wearing this, walking back and forth

in front of the house until she slept.


It holds these things now – the knit

stitches moved with you, expanding

with your presence, resting with you, too.

The fibers – might they hold bits of you,

skin cells, strands of hair, a scent I would

not recognize?  I slip it on, and step into

the cool morning.