Father’s Old Blue Cardigan by Anne Carson

Now it hangs on the back of the kitchen chair

where I always sit, as it did

on the back of the kitchen char where he always sat.

I put it on whenever I come in,

as he did, stamping

the snow from his boots.

I put it on and sit in the dark.

He would not have done this.

Coldness comes paring down from the moonbone in the sky.

His laws were a secret.

But I remember the moment at which I knew

he was going mad inside his laws.

He was standing at the turn of the driveway when I arrived.

He had on the blue cardigan with the buttons done up all the way to the top.

Not only because it was a hot July afternoon

but the look on his face–

as a small child who has been dressed by some aunt early in the morning

for a long trip

on cold trains and windy platforms

will sit very straight at the edge of his seat

while the shadows like long fingers

over the haystacks that sweep past

keep shocking him

because he is riding backwards.

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