One morning the old widower wakes to find a dozen kimonos dangling in
his closet across from his overalls. Later a fishy aroma comes wafting up
from the kitchen. Out in the garden the delicate outline of a woman kneels
beside a bed of yellow tulips that weren’t there the day before. His
children have long sensed he might be teetering on the edge of some
mental abyss. Now he shares their concern. When his daughter comes
round after lunch he serves her a cup of coffee. Complains about the relief
pitcher in last night’s ball game. Makes a list of items she could fetch
from the grocery store including apricots but avoids any mention of the
Orient. And when she starts upstairs to gather his dirty clothes, he points
to where they are already clean and folded neatly on the table with pink
rose petals scattered atop the pile.
This poem originally appeared in the limited edition chapbook In Search of Mariachis and will also be reprinted in Kimonos in the Closet (University of Pittsburgh, 2013).
David Shumate is the author of three books of prose poetry, High Water Mark (2004), The Floating Bridge (2008), and Kimonos in the Closet, (forthcoming, fall 2013) all published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. His poetry has also been anthologized in The Best American Poetry, Good Poems for Hard Times and elsewhere. He lives in Zionsville, Indiana and teaches at Marian University.
Indiana Humanities is posting a poem a day from Indiana poets in celebration of National Poetry Month.