Buried beneath years of plaid, taller than most piles of ordinary leaves,
As well as a spirited amount of dust,
Bordering on the cosmic…
Bordering on the rhetoric…
Tucked into a dresser
Housing everything from socks to shoelaces and pocket watches
To batteries that had long ago run out of everything.
Charging virtually nothing to these tactile tenants.
All in all-
Pretty much a shipwreck
Pretty much a shipwreck
Minus only some of the necessary antiquities…
The shirt was always there, inadvertently buried next to crumbling statues and marble columns,
A steady tenant;
Even if it hadn’t been worn in a millennia or two.
The shirt even without someone wearing it was still able bodied.
Fit for so much more than some old dancing skeleton…
Even if the moths had already come and gone.
Even if the months had already come and gone.
Like most stories;
This one was still able bodied,
Sea legs and all.
This shirt started out neat;
Pressed and organized with other shirts cut from similar cloths.
Arranged in a similar fashion to that of the department store from which it came.
The shirt stood in good favor with the earth and all the other planets and stars,
… and their inhabitants as well.
The shirt stood in good favor while traveling
Through epic deluges with Gilgamesh and
Laying in barren fields under the guise of crop-circles, listening intently to locusts who are all but tuned into their own frequency.
But like most knots;
Like most plagues;
Like most legends;
Like most cords on most telephones;
The shirt somehow became a tangled mess, sleeves crossed, (fingers, too) and the edges frayed.
Suffocating under leagues of denim and scores of corduroy.
A snake consuming its own tail.
The tireless, non-venomous
Patchwork serpent freed one of its tangled sleeves and
Like a rising undead, or an exasperated explorer lost among thickets and mangroves
(With nothing left but a dull machete and a faded map)
The exasperated shirt reached out for something.
Searching for any semblance of light or life;
And instead only briefly grabbing a hold of the coattails of a fleeting mirage,
Before even those slipped away to some other desert.
To some other silver screen.
It would be quite some time before the shirt would be officially worn again.
The seasons and their various fashions came together and rolled away slowly, like a snowball,
Not downhill at first, but gradually gaining speed.
As it picks up splintering hockey sticks and broken drums and wax paper from
All the local meat markets.
And ice skating rinks.
All of which had been
Left for dead by members of the team and the band.
And the butchers, too.
(They did remember to take their lettermen jackets and cleavers with them after the big game, however)
The shirt would never see a banquet hall or a ballroom.
Or a battlefield or even an art gallery.
But these were never the intended outcomes for this particular shirt.
To be fired from a cannon like some shrapnel.
To dance the night away in a room full of windows.
This shirt was destined to be worn while walking towards the sunset, on some sandy beach
…Three pens tucked neatly into the front pocket.
For which to scribble on what exactly?
The wings of crashed model airplanes?
This shirt was meant to be worn walking barefoot on asphalt,
While a stiff summer breeze blows, forcing the already melting ice cream to drip back onto the shirt.
And provide texture,
Before the final destination has even been reached.
Some noticeable holes chewed by hungry insects
(Created either during storage or exploration.)
Do not effect the integrity of this shirt, instead they become windows,
Or oil spills.
Some loose threads hang down like decaying vines or a graying beard,
They are more akin to rope ladders though,
Lowered down by the first responders sent to pick up any refugees that may have otherwise been left behind.
The eventual stains left by stick deodorant and lack thereof
Provide all the necessary stripes,
All the necessary streaks,
All the necessary combustion.
These attributes give the shirt an uncanny ability to look
For a moment,
Like so many things.
Like a jungle cat.
Or a billboard, in the process of being painted.
Or a crashed model airplane, with missing wings.