d. gilson

Vintage Concert T-Shirt, 2013

My mother gives me her brother’s black t-shirt
                in the heat of Missouri’s July.
Uncle Dennis is ten years dead now,
but his t-shirt comes from the first Farm Aid.
                September 22, 1985.
        Three days after my first birthday.
You like crap like this, right? she asks me,
                        and I laugh,
tell her, Yeah, I do, because it’s true. I’ll wear it
        to some bar and hope some boy
                        will notice it, ask me
                about the lineup that year
        until I wonder if Uncle Dennis cruised
the line of porta-potties as the devil went down
                to Georgia. If he found a Dead Head
who liked it rough and quick. If he used protection
        as John Denver asked a country road
                                to take him home.
If Uncle Dennis kissed a man there,
                sweet and sweaty as Tom Petty
        told the world to just take it easy, baby,
                                make it last all night.
I wonder if I can wear the t-shirt of a dead man.
                If the weight of his emaciated body
        is still too much.

As of 2014: D. Gilson is the author of Crush (Punctum Books, 2014), with Will Stockton; Brit Lit (Sibling Rivalry, 2013); and Catch & Release (2012), winner of the Robin Becker Prize from Seven Kitchens Press. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, The Indiana Review, and The Rumpus.

Find D. today: website twitter instagram tumblr