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Boots from my son’s eighth grade year,
outgrown far faster than the heart-deep
humiliations he bore for being gay
that I could not protect him from.
I’ve worn them ever since through sleet and snow.
A sheepskin hat too hot for any weather
but what nor’easters scream down across fields,
one fleece edge turned so the bite
taken from it by our long dead terrier mutt
is covered by the blue wool muffler
my daughter knitted for me
one fall when unemployed and anxious.
Leggings, snow pants, and here,
I might as well confess my underwear’s
not good; it’s every day, functional,
won’t ride up which makes it perfect
for this task. Shirt, sweater, upscale
jacket passed down from a friend,
my husband’s old coat with torn pocket,
bright red gloves my mother bought
on sale before she died, and zippered
in my sleeve: chapstick and my father’s
handkerchief. All set. I’m suited up,
armored, armed with shovel and salt,
to break and keep a path for any to come home.
Copyright 2021 Hayden Saunier.