that blue blazer

I know this is an odd kind of detail, an intrusive kind of detail a detail of a loss that wasn’t my own that I only know about through a poem

But my mind is stuck on the blazer that blue blazer the blue blazer the blazer that came to Maxine Kumin after Anne Sexton died the blue blazer Maxine would don when, in my imagination, the silence at the other end of their line grew unbearable the blue blazer on which the dog could still sniff the missing poet

the blue blazer that Maxine must have worn how many times how many times did she wear it before she washed it did she ever wash it or did it go on with the scent of Anne as long as it had scent at all or did Maxine’s own scent get all caught up in those long blue fibers to create the blue blazer of AnneSextonandMaxineKumin

calming Maxine’s dog who had been confused when the scent of Anne lingered on but Anne came to the house no more

When did that dog die? Did that dog pass its excitement over the blue blazer on to the next dog and the next, is there still a dog excited by the idea of the blue blazer because that’s what dogs here do?

Where is that blazer now, Anne’s blue blazer that become Maxine’s blue comfort?

Where do memories go when the person who remembers them is gone?


“Mid-February” – a poem for Maxine Kumin by Alicia Ostriker

for Maxine Kumin

The mare rears, she has almost thrown her rider.
It’s the thaw, it’s the scent of spring,
The animals know it before we do.
While we still shiver and worry ourselves over aging,
In the sickroom, the patient begins to heal.
Inside here, the windows are steaming up
But a path runs through the woods,
Half dirty snow, half mud
With the stones sticking through
And the snapped branches lying across, the ones
That were ready to die
And gave themselves to the wind.

Friend, it’s a day for a walk.
Are we going to walk it?

Alicia Ostriker No Heaven (University of Pittsburgh Press ©2005)