I LIKE TO WEAR OLD SWEATS
When I brought my jacket
into the dry cleaners
to be sewn, the Chinese lady
who runs the place
said, You should throw it away.
There is nothing I can do to make it better.
She looked at my jacket
and she talked like a doctor,
or rather, like a funeral director,
and I thought
she was going to offer euthanasia
for this thing I felt so close to.
It was like when my dog got old
and they said the same thing.
I took him home, and he’s still alive,
wagging his tail, like he’s the conductor
of an orchestra, and that’s his baton.
Same story all the time:
as soon as you get close to something
they want to take it away,
want you to conform,
tie a tie around your neck, so you’ll look like you belong,
like you’re a shirt that‘s been thoroughly starched,
and you’ve been botoxed with this perfunctory smile.
I like to wear old sweats
when I play tennis, but now
even my wife is suggesting
that if I won’t wear white shorts for the game
no one will talk to us.
So I took this home too, I mean
my old jacket, and I sewed it myself.
Let’s see if it holds together in the wash.