He with a Shirt like Lemon Sorbet

He wore a shirt, some would say,

Alike in color to lemon sorbet,

And thus wore as a shell his interior’s pallor,

Which exuded from him an acute sense of valor;

Driven, was he, to convey effervescence,

As if joy and light were his very essence

“So nice to share a room with him;

So like the sun upon the world’s rim,

So like a new sun dawning,”
Followed by a fit of explicit yawning,

These are things that people would say

About the man with a shirt like sorbet.

At night, however, as many must do,
He returns home when his day is through

And divests of himself his outer-skin,

Sheds layer upon layer like repented sin,

Makes laundry of his bright shirt and slacks,

Returns his tie to its lofty wooden rack,

Makes a meal not of joy but consumption,

And sits nearly nude, free from assumptions.

Oh, if walls could speak in stiff discourse, 

In congress with sturdy sentinel doors,

The windows with concern lightly rattling, 

The din of unease would be all but maddening,

Save for the unanimous consensus:

“When will this wretched man dispense of

His manifest ungainly sorrow?

Will he, despite himself, expire tomorrow?

Look at him before that mirror in its frame,

That unwashed glass, that muted shame;

Does he see therein his terrific reflection,

Or is he blind to his saturnine complexion?

So like the moon in its somber vigil

Over black nocturne, so like a sigil

Unscathed and worn, tightly knit;

Out of cowardice he upholds his farcical wit,

His light and joy but a woven disguise,”

They’d say if they had even myopic eyes.

And at last under the weight of the day,

He with the shirt like lemon sorbet

Enshrouds himself in the linen of night,

Draws in toward his frame the hood of night,

And dreams he is a fastidious reptile,

Shedding with ease the skin of the servile.

Poem by Josh Brunetti

Photo by Flickr/Abi Porter