Her Chimayo Jacket
Thou shalt not covet thy boyfriend’s
mother’s jacket. Oh, but I did.
It hung on cedar in the guest room closet.
I was the guest that Santa Fe summer.
The red wool sleeve said, “touch me.” The
silver buttons boasted, “we’re older than you.”
For some reason, it is okay to covet my mother-in-law’s jacket.
After all, she has already parted with her most prized possession.
She helps me into the styled blanket, smoothing the shoulders.
The heavy Chimayo wool wonders if I can bear its weight.
Two square pockets hide promises and memories.
The red collar turns up tongue-like, whispering secrets.
Her jacket comes home with me, returning along the lines
of its design—Route 66, Albuquerque, Pinon, Flagstaff.
Years later, from the doorway of dementia, she mourns its loss.
My former father-in-law asks, apologetically, for the jacket back.
The familiar red sleeve says, “touch me”; the shiny buttons affirm, “we remember you.”
She wraps herself in the 1940s, once again on that road trip from Kansas to New Mexico.
The Chimayo jacket, returned by her son, now lives in my closet.
Its red and black, gray and white symmetry still speaks to me.