For years I opened my closet door to see nothing
but my own jackets, sweatshirts, boots, shoes, crap.
Eventually, my closet and I didn’t get along.
Why bother opening a thing that gives back
only the same memory with no hope of progression.
My boots became more worn. My jackets changed
positions and eventually those too became useless to me.
Five years into being a hardcore bachelor
-nothing could control me. Not a thing,
except for my closet.
I specifically remember opening my brother’s closet
during a family event. It was the twins’ birthday.
I was among the last to leave. I had ruffled their hair,
told them I loved them- they ran off into another room
and I opened their closet door to find my jacket.
This was my brother’s home and my brother’s life.
In his closet hung children’s jackets. Some of which
had little ears. And on the back of the closet door
hung shoe and boot holders and in the holders were
little shoes and little boots. I wanted to cry. I wanted
to do more than cry but instead, I closed the door and
walked out of my brother’s house and got into my truck.
I shut the door, turned the radio on, and drove. I drove
through farmland and shut the damn music off because I
never listen to music and it was nothing more than a mask
for having looked into another closet that was not a closet
at all, but a life. A home. A real home. I had my four walls
and my closet that I didn’t get along with waiting for me.
-Now though…I sit here thinking of that old closet of mine
and about how somehow, someway, it’s still there. And now
it’s the one who is alone because I am no longer alone and haven’t
been for a long, long while. Even before I met Megan. Something
happened. Something that propelled my being into what I was
meant to be, to live, to see. And now when I open my closet, it isn’t
my old boots. It’s life. It’s beautiful life. Megan’s fluffy jackets that
I couldn’t possibly understand how to wear, it’s her boots that I couldn’t
possibly walk in, it’s her smile hiding in the hood of her jacket, I open
my closet now and I see my son’s winter jacket puffing out at me, begging
me to put it on him. I see tiny little ears. I see little boots. And little shoes.
This is my closet, and this is my most favorite closet that I have ever had.
Matt is a loving father and husband. Their small family lives on the side of a mountain in Maine. Matt's work, to include both poetry and short stories, has been published in numerous online and print publications. Matt's short story, Bodies in the Basement, was voted publication of the year (non-poetic) on Spillwords Press, 2019.