My Father’s Closet
D. Nurkse
1 hat

As soon as I put it on
Brooklyn went dark,
but when I took it off
my wooden horse stared at me
with dazzling glass eyes.

2 coat

The shirred hem
swished on the floor.
Huge shoulders sloped
like pines under snow.
A panel in the lapel
read Kuut, Tallinn
in thread letters.
I hid at the center
behind jet buttons
too round to undo.
That coarse-nap wool
outlasted Estonian winter
but now the moths
left a trellis of holes
so it was never dark
when I curled up
hugging my knees.
My mother cried out:
Who are you? I answered
in my deepest voice:
His coat.

3 shoes

I shoved my hands in
and taught them to walk:
now stumble, now march
against your will, left, right,
to the Narva front:

now dance:
and somewhere
in that immense city
where snow trembled
in high lit windows,
a footstep receded,
rapid, urgent,
indelible as a name.