Emily Frago --- wonderful poet new to me --- The Sadness of Clothes

How to tell this suit that their owner is gone 

This poem appeared yesterday at the Poem-A-Day site and it captures something that I think so many of us have experienced. For decades after my father's death, I wore his 100% cotton V-necked tees --- wore one particular one until it became more gauze than shirt.

As for my mother's clothes --- after she died they ended up as part of an estate sale. Somewhere in the Boston area there is a hipster wearing her monogrammed dresses --- a proud LSD --- over the bosom.

Here is Emily Frago's poem for a powerful take on what happens between the one left behind and the clothes of the beloved after they are gone.

The Sadness of Clothes

Emily Fragos

When someone dies, the clothes are so sad. They have outlived
their usefulness and cannot get warm and full.
You talk to the clothes and explain that he is not coming back

as when he showed up immaculately dressed in slacks and plaid
and had that beautiful smile on and you’d talk.
You’d go to get something and come back and he’d be gone.

You explain death to the clothes like that dream.
You tell them how much you miss the spouse
and how much you miss the pet with its little winter sweater.

You tell the worn raincoat that if you talk about it,

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  1. I remember when I placed some of my late husband John's things, his new winter coat, his suits, on consignment and how sad and uncomfortable it made me feel. I still have some of his hats, the ones he used to wear to ski to make others smile or laugh. I gave away most of them already, but there were a few. Yesterday I finally parted with all but one. His cherished bowler hat, a real one, satin lining and all. We even bought a hat box for it. It's been tucked away all these years. I brought it upstairs, intending for it to go too, and then... I thought I'd just try it on. It's staying. In the hall closet this time, among my other hats, and come fall it will be one of the ones I will be wearing.


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