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The Kinloch Rivers Memorial Prize

Linda Lee Harper

Nameless: List


as a discarded dog,
the lost coat waits
on a hanger at the bus
station, a bench warmer,
black toggles dangling
where buttons might ride
on other styles, faded
cord limp as dirty hair,
frayed where some fingers,
probably missing this coat on
on such a cold November morning,
still fumble for the ghost
of closures past even as they
zip their new jacket up,
wonder for an instant
what ever became of that
old wooly thing sacrificed

on the altar of haste and
anger; the last trip to see
her had cost—the bad sex,
the slight perversions one
allows a last encounter,
final collision, all
that’s left a wisp
of memory tugging down,
just a trace of discreet
travesties only the coat
evokes, tossed to a chair,
then slipped onto and dropped
from a rolling duffle,
as invisible at departure
as the bruise her lips left
on a thigh, the one which
won’t purple until

the distance home, halved.

Nameless: Text
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