Author’s Note: Author’s Note: “Beware of any enterprise that requires new clothes,” Thoreau said, but then he didn’t have a wife or an iPad. Shmatteh is a Yiddish word that literally means “rag” though it is usually used to describe clothing that fails, shall we say, to achieve a certain sartorial standard. Then there’s a nostalgic summer poem, and for dessert, ice cream.
Why are you wearing that shmatteh? my wife asks,
looking at my brown cords.
What? I say, What shmatteh? These are nice cords.
Maybe fifteen years ago, boytshik. Take them off,
I’m throwing them away.
I look down at my thighs where the material
has thinned a bit and there’s a small hole starting.
I take them off. Underwear too she says.
What do those have, like one molecule left?
Jeez, some people have no relationship to the physical world.
Physical world’s overrated I say,
hoping this is just a ploy to get me naked.
But no, she’s on her iPad looking up pants at L.L. Bean.
Too good for the likes of me I say.
Humpf, she says, you’re a rich man and you're getting some nice pants.
She’s gathered my old cords and my one molecule undies,
stuffed them in the trash.
Your new pants are getting here on the 23rd she tells me.
I got you three pair, and some new underwear. Now go
put on something without holes and you can take me out for lunch.
I grew three inches and my eyes burned.
I slid into third base, I swam across the lake,
my hair hung down on my shoulders
and my friend and I nailed trail markers
to the trees all the way to the hidden river
that ran by Pete’s Hill.
We sang as we hiked the steep land.
A few days later, we were sent to find
a lost group, and we called and called
until we heard them in the distance.
We stepped lightly, brought them around
the bend, past the meadow filled
with cornflowers and Queen Anne’s lace.
We brought them down past the river
and back to the road. They were chastened
and quiet, but we sang all the way, like rockstars,
like pioneers, like boys who would never grow old.
Alone today in the yellow house
across from the pond, and mountains
looming over nearly naked trees.
Everyone else is out,
they have taken the road to town.
There they will buy rice and milk,
cheese and bread and maybe berries
for a treat. They will sing as they go,
swinging their arms to lift the children,
who squeal and beg for more.
Maybe it will rain, and they will run
through puddles, splashing each other,
laughing with their wet hair.
But I hope the rain holds off, and they go
for ice cream, which melts down their
chins and fingers as they lick their cones.
They should get to taste those sweet
cold flavors burning on their lips and tongues.
© 2019 Steve Klepetar
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