Epitaph for an Undershirt

Here is hung
an old undershirt. 
I knew it well, or it knew me well. 
It was not a bulletproof vest
nor a shirt of chainmail, 
yet in its way it was designed to protect me;
it swaddled my heart,
it absorbed my sweat. 


Here is folded 
a tattered undershirt. 
I come not to praise it
but to recycle it –
a work rag it shall become,
that it may continue a textile utility
until the soiled and stained saturation,
the bitter dirty end. 

Here lies
a torn and faded undershirt,
washed to threadbare, 
shrunk to almost sleeveless.
I shed it, freed from it, and
I miss it not, nor covet another,
for in the end, clothes are only trappings,
and what I want is liberation. 

The shirt off my back,
all garments rent, ripped, or ragged,
the raiment I don today
is naught but the rain-bringing breeze 
and the sun-baked soil. 
Let the elements swathe me:
I give gladly of my nudity 
back to nature. 

2 thoughts on “Epitaph for an Undershirt

  1. T-shirtsHang from my shouldersMuch longer than they shouldAnother — undershirt upon undershirt –With different wear to maskRents by breast pockets,Frayed spots around my neck,Places where armpit hairSprouts through seamsMade to satisfy the bottom lineNot me.The shame is in the tattersNot the flesh.In a perfect world, I'd hide neither.

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