His Shirt

John Skoyles

The striped shirt drying
on the patio chair—
you can say he wore
that shirt,
its back covered
his back,
framed him
against the car seat
when we drove
to Jones Beach.
Upright as he walked,
horizontal
where he tossed it
to the sand,
damp when he
dressed again.
You can say you bought
that shirt, it fit,
it looked okay on the boy
who gave it life
before life
left it here on the chair.

John Skoyles is author, most recently, of Inside Job. He is the poetry editor of Ploughshares. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, and elsewhere.
Originally published:
July 1, 2018

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