Nov. 17: Releasing

As in leasing again? As in letting go?
All of that as I pull clothes out of drawers,
off hangers, wearables I should have donated
years ago when they were semi-fashionable,
when someone might have happily picked up
the midi dress that now looks so hippie-ish…
though everything does come round again
in fashion, in politics.

But I won’t go there. The only blues and reds
I want now are the ones in my hands, each
garment a time-and-place memory of where
it was purchased or worn—the favorite pants
with the just-right pockets that accompanied me
to a hundred college classes, held my office keys
and a pen or two; the silky blouse I wore the night
I read my first poetry book to generous listeners.

But I cannot yet bear to give up the fleecy robe
long past its prime, no longer worn but tucked
away—one of his last gifts to me—nor a couple
of his aloha shirts, and oh, the gray sport coat he
wore when we married in a friend’s living room
39 years ago next month.

It has been more than two decades now
of the gradual letting go—releasing his long
black denim duster and grownup cowboy boots,
echoes of his ranching childhood, packing up
his mother’s sturdy stoneware with galloping
horses and bronc riders for his nephew.

Just a week ago I gave away his last anchor
of a toolbox to my nephew-in-law, a fellow
my fellow would have liked who teaches others
about engines and cars like the old body
of the 1958 Porsche, my husband’s final
project, at last relinquished to a friend who
will one day complete its restoration.

Release comes as hands fold fabric into bags
bound for the thrift store, in looking outside to
note the trees shedding their summer clothes,
too, though I have never known if it’s the tree
that lets go of the leaves or the leaves that
allow themselves to release and flutter
softly, having no idea where they’ll land,
and finding, once they’re there, that
in the end it doesn’t matter.

Liquid amber / Joe Chan / November 2022

About janishaag

Writer, writing teacher, editor
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5 Responses to Nov. 17: Releasing

  1. Dick Tracy says:

    I’m blocked from making comments…

  2. shaunasmith says:

    I love this!!

    Warmly,ShaunaSent from my iPhone

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  3. Cora Johnson says:

    I love this. Release is a super title!

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