September 7, 2011

Michael J. Solender

 For Me and Him

I smelled him upon opening the chest. I’d forgotten the musky boozy scent that lingered in his chair years after he passed. The scent immediately returned me to Sunday whisker rubs he gave me right before he shaved. Two days growth nearly cut my oily cheeks but I loved it just the same.

His blue sport coat was right on top. It was folded just so, I knew ma was behind the care it found in the worn cedar chest. She wouldn't give that coat away. She couldn't. That was his Friday night coat. He wore it every Friday when they went out for supper. Thirty years he wore that same coat and now I held it close to my face and inhaled all I could of his grace and goodness.

Threadbare and worn, it was all that I hung onto, all that I had left of him and I cried. Folding it back up I felt a scrap of paper in the right breast pocket. In his precise and careful hand was written, “I am but dust and ash.”

I stopped crying immediately and recognized this as a Talmudic verse. I knew there would be a corresponding note found in the other pocket and there was.

It read, “The world was created for me alone.”


Michael J. Solender is the author of the short story and poetry chapbook, Last Winter’s Leaves, published by Full of Crow Press. He is the editor of the online magazine, On The Wing. More of his work can be found at

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