I’ll Take Your Jacket When You Die

by Leona Sevick

I know how this happened. 
The tradition of naming things 
one might pass on to loved ones 
got him thinking about his share.

One of us mentioned a keepsake, 
a ring or a piece of furniture 
that would be mine or my husband’s
when some elder relative passed away.

I’ll take your jacket when you die.

It’s not like I think he’ll be crouching 
behind the pie table, plotting to do us 
harm. But the indifference of his 
ten-year-old heart unhinged us, 

and I confess I’m a little afraid of him.


Leona Sevick‘s work appears in Barrow Street, North American Review, Potomac Review, Slipstream, Poet Lore, The Journal, The Florida Review, and the anthologies Circe’s Lament (Accents Publishing 2015) and All We Can Hold (Sage Hill Press 2016), among other publications. Her work is forthcoming in The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks (Univ. of Arkansas Press, 2017, forward by Terrance Hayes). She is the 2017 Press 53 Poetry Award Winner for her first full-length book of poems, Lion Brothers, and the 2012 first place winner of the Split This Rock Poetry contest, judged by Naomi Shihab Nye. She was a semi-finalist for the 2015 Philip Levine Poetry Prize, and her chapbook, Damaged Little Creatures, was published in 2015 by FutureCycle Press. She is provost at Bridgewater College in Virginia and can be reached at leonasevick.com.

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