Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Filched

Is that vintage? they ask.  

It was my father’s, I say and think of a man for whom 
that word meant only a crack about drink—

            Gimme a tall one of your finest vintage!

I found it among tie pins and cufflinks in his top drawer, 
filched it years before I knew the word, 

            knew only that I wanted something I could take from him
            who knew work and the bar better than home, 

            something I would have never called 
            beautiful and ruined. 

Crystal scratched, leather dry and stitching frayed. 
He never noticed it was gone, 

            or else he never said. 

From his dresser to the carved wooden box I buried 
inside my hand-me-down chest, 

            until the no more of him sent me rooting 
            for some relic I could hold. 

Glass polished and gears set right, new band strapped around my wrist.

Vintage? 

It’s beautiful, they say.  

It was my father’s, and I let them assume, 

            inheritance or gift, 

that he was a man of taste, who shared it with his son.  

Credit


From Filched (Dos Madres Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by James Tolan. Used with the permission of Holly Messitt.

Author


James Tolan

James Tolan is the author of Filched (Dos Madres Press, 2017).

Date Published: 2017-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/filched