I WEAR HIS JACKET
The military jacket was crumpled
in a sloppy ball on the floor of the
antique show that some chickadee
dragged me to.
After hours and hours and rows
upon rows of beat-to-shit furniture,
hat pins and jewelry boxes, I saw it,
this gorgeously authentic army jacket.
Laying there, musty and crinkled, I
tried it on and it was a perfect fit.
This was the real deal, not some
knockoff shit direct from Abercrombie
but a coat that evoked history.
From the tattered interior stitching
I'm guessing the coat was issued
during Korea or maybe even Vietnam.
The patch had the name 'HALL'
and I started to think about him.
Wearing it, not a day goes by where
I don't have questions like how many
offensives had he seen? Was he scared?
I think of the mud he crawled through.
I think of the horrendous rain this
coat must have endured and the
cigarettes he must have smoked during
those uncertain night patrols.
I wear his jacket and I think of the
dog he missed and that perfume
she used to wear on their dates
at the drive in that drove him crazy.
I think about his mom's reaction when
he told her that he enlisted and how
proud his dad secretly was that his boy
would finally be made a man by Uncle Sam.
I think of 'HALL' as I drive to work
and I do the math. He must have kids
around my age if he were still here.
I wonder if they think their dad was a hero?
I wear his jacket quite frequently now
and every time I get a compliment
for it, I think that yes, I wear 'Hall's'
jacket, but I could never fill his shoes.
"I Wear His Jacket" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by Rhonda Lorence, track No. 11 "Trail of Tears" on the album "Movements in the Moment," and provided by Magnatune.