No French cuffs

Plaid flannel shirts
of my Northwoods youth
smelled of
beer and pine cones
boat motor gasoline and
fresh-caught sunfish
wood smoke
and filtered Winstons

When I was a kid the
intertwined, pungent
aromas of cervelat salami
plumbers’ grease, house paint
mingled freely, locked
in square-patterned fibers
always-rolled-up sleeves

no amount of
Fels Naptha-soap
could smother those
godly auras

When I was a kid
plaid flannel shirts smelled
wonderfully worn by heroes –
old men with accents and dialects
eye-winks and odd habits
mentors who I know understood
that I emulated
aspired to one day be like

Plaid flannel shirts
hang now in my closet;
freshly washed, hanging neatly –
as they never
would or could on the
hero-men I knew

My plaid flannel shirts
hang quietly, neatly
sedately
rarely worn, quietly lived-in
yet they, too
smell of wood-smoke
and pine trees
beer, salami, pine

wood-box Colby cheese and
chainsaw exhaust
bait minnows and Old Spice
whenever I open
my closet

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2019
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