The Jacket

At my friend’s house lime before Christmas, this Australian guy (who I’d never met before) offered to give me his jacket to wear when I left because it was really cold that night. Everyone limed and talked ’til late, ate curry chicken, aloo, channa, and rice laced with drops of pepper sauce and kuchela ’til we were full; drank rum, beer and spiked sorrel.

It wasn’t a large lime but it was warm on the inside and cozy and I enjoyed chatting with the people who were there. So I left with the jacket—a conch shell stashed in one of the pockets and a camera in the other. Upon loaning the jacket and hearing that I dabbled in writing, I was challenged by the owner to eventually write a poem in exchange for the borrow—about all three: his jacket, the shell & the camera.

The jacket has been returned.

The last time I saw it, a pugnacious pug was furiously humping the jacket’s sleeve on my friend’s couch.

This is poem:

The Jacket

is alone.
Cloying need
for baptism by sweat
or rain, or slop
sprayed from a car’s tire.

The jacket–
would rather be useful.
Wants to envelope
its owner–a great barrier reef
on skin, fending off the elements.

Is pregnant with conch
and camera, holds secrets
inside folds. Memories forgotten
in dark corners of pockets.

I am a heap
on the carpet. A green
of olives maw
opening underfoot.

The pug mounts me frantically.

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