Prose Poetry by Noam Hessler

Buckskin Jacket.

I was so young, outside the VFW. There was a drift of snow, outside the VFW, and when I was fifteen I’d lie in that drift spread-eagle, my feathers damp, my legs twisted. Outside the VFW were the parked cars red, orange, blue, spray-painted in mud, my jacket was soaked. Got a little tighter, a little stiffer each day I laid in the snow outside the VFW. filing out of the VFW to outside the VFW came the veterans of Truly Foreign Wars, wars that no language could actualize, no markings on their body could truly rectify in other’s understanding, their wives sometimes walking outside the VFW, their sons smoking cigarettes by the dumpster while their parents drank, sat on their cars, looking at me with hungry eyes in the whole great world outside the VFW, the snow, the blizzard. After that I’d come home to you.

I was soaked in my buckskin jacket with the tassels that you loved and I opened up my phone and you were there. The buckskin jacket dried and cracked and tightened on my shoulders while my legs got skinnier and my chest never tightened my shirt, as I aged. You called me pretty when I wore my buckskin jacket and the whole world was a refuge from the refuge from the war. My dad would come back from the VFW, a VTFW, an eagle embedded in his chest squirming, writhing and squawking, its eaglelegs ensconced in my bellyskin, and he would smile with kind eyes at his faggot son. You liked my stomach underneath the buckskin jacket, take another picture, just the buckskin jacket again, you said. My dad had gotten it after the war and when I wore it I was his son.

I’m not ashamed of losing my virginity to you in the bathroom stall. I’m not ashamed of when you gnashed your teeth at me, cried because I hadn’t sent you pictures or a text. I’m not ashamed of the locked door to my room, of the graffiti of dogs undoing a man on the bathroom stall door. I’m not ashamed of crying so that your tears became my tears by some ugly alchemy. I’m not ashamed that I loved you. I’m ashamed I got old.

And I left my buckskin jacket outside the VFW for you to find. I’m not ashamed of this.

Noam Hessler

Twitter: @poetryaccnt1518

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