There is a Great Big Jacket in the Sky

There is a great big jacket in the sky, and it’s made of birds, flying. I see this big jacket in the sky and I buy the same jacket. It’s on sale, all faux-feathery and beautiful, slumping on a hanger outside some boutique on a quiet side street.  The jacket reminds me of you, how you walked, head forward, across busy East Colonial, passing the gold sellers, the pawn shops, your body illuminated, my headlights shining straight onto you. I was at a stoplight. You pushed a stroller. A baby peeked over the edge. You and Baby looked like forever in that sugary yellow light. That same night, I got home and could not stop shaking from the cold, my own muscle and bone warring over something that is not you, that is not me.  The war began when I was eleven, when Laura died. Now I am twenty-four and you’d think I would be used to this. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve cried myself to sleep wondering where all of these lives have gone. And when I watched you walk away, with your child, into the night, I wanted to tell you something. If only I had known about that jacket in the sky, then. Maybe I could have folded it up into one, big wing. You could have climbed it like a ladder with Baby on your back. You two could have been explorers. I would have anchored that wing-ladder to the Earth; you would’ve always known how to come home.

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