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Poetry

Cilice

There is a heaviness I wear like a sweater vest most days;
made of the finest worry and worn under my clothes.

My treasure. Made of only the finest debt, imported from China.
There were once diamonds to keep it closed instead of buttons.
 
Threadbare now because I have plucked out golden threads
by the handful when times were good, but that was then.

My mother mentioned it in passing along with a reminder
about how my father didn't take good care of his while he lived.
 
You have noted my slouching, along with that walk-in closet
I never built for you, in that dream house we don’t yet own.
 
Burdened, I weigh heavy on my chair or our bed because
I am afraid to show you my hairy nakedness underneath.

I don't talk to the kids about my hidden layer much;
besides these things are out of fashion now or at least they should be.