Perhaps it was in his pocket
among all that change that
clinked when he would nervously
play with the contents.

(There was something comforting
to me about that habit of his.
It was decidedly him.)

The black leather handle
looks almost stone like,
as if petrified like a piece of wood.
It’s lost all suppleness maybe from
no longer having the oil from those
fingers, rubbing, toying,
worrying it over and over.

BARLOW is spelled out across
both sides of the silver
portion on the handle.
There are two blades
enclosed in the metal casings.
I’ve pulled them open at times,
examining them for any
hint of their use.
They look used.
Spots, scrapings and a hint
of some debris left behind.
How long had he owned this?
Was it of value to him?
Had it been gifted…by whom?
Or just utilitarian?
Picked up at some drugstore,
he needing something to clean
under his fingernails,
cut a piece of twine or open a box.

I found it after he died
when going through his
things. I asked Mom if I could
have it along with the
silver matchbook cover,
with our last name engraved on it,
that still held a tiny, yellowed
photo of the two of them back
in the forties…both
smiling broadly…happy.

Mom said yes, take them,
I don’t want any of it.

Victoria C. Slotto is hostess at dVerse Poets encouraging us to write about an artifact or someTHING:

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  1. ugh that last line hit hard… and it’s sad that you cannot ask him even more about the pocket knife – i bet if it could talk it could many a story of what they did and discovered together – i have a swiss army knife – victorinox – it’s a practical little tool


    • Didn’t really know what he had until after he was gone. It was almost like my mother didn’t want any reminder of him left behind…not a happy union for those two. Yeah, sad…

      Claudia…let your kids know any story of you and your victorinox…smiles.


  2. This reminded me of my own dad, and some of the mementos he gave me the last time I saw him before he died. Nice response to the prompt. Peace, Linda


  3. it is interesting the relics that we choose to keep and what we choose get rid of….the little picture of them happy…my father in law always has a pocketknife in his pocket…there are so many stories in these relics


    • Yes, that photos was proof that they had indeed once been happy…love it. Many men of that era carried pocket knives…maybe men still do today.


  4. You will never know the secret of the history of the knife..but every time you look at it you will think of him.


  5. A family relic, I like to keep them too ~ Perhaps there are memories that your mother would not like to keep, I can understand this too ~ Good to see you Gayle ~


  6. This is very moving. Family treasures / relics are really so valuable. Nice to have something that was important and used to keep as a remembrance. Your poem was written with much feeling.


  7. This one got to me, too. I have my dad’s pen knife somewhere, I think in my desk drawer at home. He loved to sharpen blades. And, similarly, he carried it in his pocket. As my husband carries his. It’s a guy thing, perhaps. :0) Very touching.


  8. I have my dad’s old backpack hanging by the TV.. it’s worn and thick cotton.. and I recall him wearing it.. next object to write poetry about.. what a wonderful memento.. and I think how you caught the wear is what hit me most.


  9. Anna

     /  February 21, 2014

    Wow, I really get it… ❤


  10. there are always stories left untold…for any number of reasons. this is a stunning piece; pulled me all the way through.


    • You’re so right…we’ll never know the innermost secrets of those close to us. And thank you for your generous comment…I’m humbled.


  11. You can find out so much bout a man by what he keeps in his pockets… Beautifully written.


  12. My dear friend, this is a lovely story that you tell and written with a loving edge, I guess some mysteries are never truly solved, but still it is a nice keepsake nevertheless 🙂 Have a sweet rest of day Gayle 🙂

    Andro xxxx


    • Thank you for your visit and lovely comment for me, Andro. I wished I had asked my father more questions…mostly though about his life and feelings. He wasn’t very forthcoming about those things… Yes, a nice keepsake. 🙂

      Enjoy the rest of your weekend my friend. xoxo


      • In hindsight I guess that we all wish that we had asked more questions but he will always have a place in your heart and mind, and that is really special my dear friend.

        Have a lovely Monday Gayle 🙂

        Andro xxxx


  13. A keepsake to cherish, even if you don’t have the whole story.

    The closing tugs at the heart. Sad, after spending a lifetime with someone, making a family with them. Probably the same with many people, a story often lived but not as often told. I’m sorry.


  14. Yes, the ending tugged at me too…because that is how it was with her. A mystery there too…like you said, not as often told.



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