My Grandfather's Flannel
By: Matthew Rowe

It is grey
with squares
of darker grey.
I put it on
when that’s how
I feel
about controllable
things; uncontrolled.


One arm at a time
I slide into it,
carefully minding
its form, 
provoking its fortitude.

The sleeves
are usually
rolled up,
he is sitting
with raccoons in his lap,
his favorite chair.


In the mirror, on me
a couple inches
too short and
stretched out at the elbows,

 I imagine we have arms
of similar length,
wrists exposed
punctual familiarity.


I imagine his forearms
up to the elbows
in grease & flexing
veins protruding
wrenching muscles,
hurdling obstacles
with brute force.

Each quarter turn

learning, until

drive of object meets


Flexing my own,

searching for

such force

of his presence,

embracing valor

buttoned up to the neck,

releasing resistance.


I wear my Grandfather’s flannel

until I let go of control,

working vigorously

then not at all

flex and release,

letting the grey

be a sharp obscurity,

circulating until

it becomes a pattern,

again a part

of the whole mechanism.