The Overcoat

The empty overcoat hung in the hallway
the threads just still from a sudden walk.

The dead parent perfume of jasmine laced tobacco
piled in the beggar's bowl, a smoker's unlit pyre cold
a box of used Lucifers, a leather bag half-packed.

The empty overcoat weighted by his absence
the loose sleeves wasted on life's heavy cuffs.
The curled lapel still growing a ragged poppy
the faded paper pinked by hand for ages.

A collar turned stiff against the winter
when a son politely caught his death.
One careful owner's wallet still holding
a golden summer, the image cut to fit.

The empty overcoat haunts the cloakroom
a little shadow hanging father's shape off the peg
waiting for a son to wear. Two ghosts possessing
the same sheet, two shapes cut from the same cloth.

John G. Hall

If you've any comment on this poem, John G. Hall would be pleased to hear from you.