Issue 1
The Jacket

The Jacket

After the first day
of the academic conference
in northern California

I call the wife and kids back east
and drive to meet the ocean
at the Sonoma coast.

A little seafood place
with crappy over-fried shrimp
over-battered buttered and herbed

but beautiful the fading light
a gray streak under the purple way out
like a shot echoing.

That’s me sitting there at the window
single table in a crowded room
alternately awkward and comfortable

kind of like a benevolent a-gonadic
old man Santa Claus
from some stupid movie

in my beloved green and purple
plaid madras summer weight
jackass jacket

twenty years old now
with the torn lining aware
of uninterpretable glances.

The waitress came by with the check
and said how spiffy I looked.
(“Dad or “Grandpa” implied?)

Here, try it on (and she did!)
You look great in it.
(Was that a blush?)

I considered letting her keep it
(How free would that feel?) but then
she took it off and handed it back.

Peter Schneider is a poet and psychotherapist who divides his time between Brooklyn, NY, and Rochester, VT. His poems have appeared in The Buddhist poetry review, MobiusA Journal of Social Change and A Midnight Snack.