He still carries it, more gray than blue these days,
but blue, nonetheless. He sticks it on the passenger seat
each Friday after work on his way to the liquor store,
then curls-up with it on the couch as he waits for the sun to set
and the ice to melt the sting out of the four fingers he nurses
until he falls asleep in front of the shifty glow of the television.
He awakens early on Saturday caressing the threadbare silky
of the edges and thinks about Sally, how she let her hair grow out
and the first time she let him touch every long blonde curl.
He rolls onto his other shoulder, pulls the soft old comfort
to his chest, and tells himself he deserved the ass-kicking
Charlie gave him. The rest of the morning he spends drowsy
with wishing and finding the next cold spot his thumb can rub.
He drags himself up by noon, eats a little toast, flips through
his record collection, flings the gray-blue thing over his shoulder,
and grieves again the loss of the pesky little mutt next door
who always knew how to snatch it from his hands.
First appeared in Chiron Review - Spring 2016