My girlfriend’s step-dad wore shirts so soft
they demanded a nap, or my cheek,
again and again, for stealth minutes alone
by the hamper. Broadcloth shirts
from Brooks Brothers and JoS Bank.
Shops I’d never heard of; a fabric from which
there is no going back.
His Waterman pen, the cool black opposite of sleep,
composed the list of things I couldn’t keep,
while the meaning of his wrist
was his gold Hamilton watch,
a thin, quiet square I drew at night
in its furrowed brown band.
Bedtime disclosed a tumbler of Jack
on an implacable bedside table,
where maleness gathered to rest:
his watch, his pen, his pigskin billfold,
confidential and slim. Assertive silver key ring
asserting his initials.
What else about Bart?
He was a man, his ropey frame a record
of finely made items
I hadn’t known before.
Now I make my own money.
I could buy those things, but don’t.
I want you, gentlemen, to have them,
so the longing never stops,
and I don’t disappear.